Stomach Worms, Health, Death

Everyone who has goats understands that they have stomach worms that will at times make them anemic and we need to de-worm them.  We have struggled this year to keep the worms and anemia in check.

We had thought we were keeping an eye on it and de-wormed them, but the nursing does did not seem to respond.  They all became seriously anemic.

In the past our protocol to help them has been to keep the anemic goat confined so that they do not waste energy foraging and walking around.  As well, we begin administering Fortified B complex shots 2x per day about 5-6 ml each time.  Plus give them a dose of 5ml Red Cell with Goat Probiotic Power powder dissolved into the Red Cell.  This has been enough to support them and help get them back to good health.  We expect that when this happens, the animal would need this intensive supplement treatment for about 2 weeks and then when the FAMACHA checks start showing improvement, we then taper it down, begin allowing the animal out with the others and eventually discontinue treatment when they get to about a 3 reading in FAMACHA.  This year, it’s been much longer than 2 weeks, nobody seemed to be getting better and it seemed every day another goat went into the danger zone.

I threw out the de-wormer meds and got fresh dewormer.

Our young Doe Daisy who had a surprise kid Bambi in May was one of the ones stricken with anemia. When this happened we also began treating Bambi, as experience has proven that when momma is sick you’ve got to carefully watch the kids.  Unfortunately, our intervention of deworming, B shots, and Red Cell and supplemental formula feeding wasn’t enough and Bambi, declined over the course of 2 weeks and then died.  We did what we thought we should be doing to help him, but it was unsuccessful. We were all pretty bummed about this as we worked hard to pull him from her when born, supplemental feed him when she refused him, and then re-graft him back to her.

This is the 3rd kid from this same stall that has become sick and 2 of them have died this year.  HMMM, coincidence?

We made a decision to do more after losing this kid.  We cleaned the barn, sprinkled diatomaceous earth on the floor of the barn, and then after research began to rethink our mineral protocol.  We had been using a general mineral for cows, goats, sheep from Producers Pride purchased at Tractor Supply because we also have sheep.  I’ve read in several articles that low cobalt in goats can prohibit vitamin B absorption, which can affect the health of goats.  We decided to add a better mineral to the daily handful of grain that we give them because after checking we realized the mineral we were using did not have any cobalt in it.

Within about 5 days of adding the new mineral, all but the oldest 13 year old goat who was seriously anemic, have now gotten better very quickly. Maybe they just reached the turning point all at the same time, but we’re keeping with the new barn cleaning and mineral routine because 1) it just is easier and a much shorter job when there’s only about 7 days of hay and poop to clean up 2) I suspect the sudden improvement might have something to do with these changes. No scientific proof of this, but I believe if it’s working then you shouldn’t change it.