1 Some of the most important internal parasites of goats are
''stomach'' worms. Because of husbandry practices, diagnosis and
treatment-control of these parasites should be approached on the basis
of the entire herd, not as individual animals alone.
2 In a goat herd, young animals under 6 months of age are by far the
most susceptible to parasitic infection. This group of kids is highly
susceptible since they have had very little exposure to parasites and
thereby have very little resistance or immunity.
3 The second most susceptible animals in the goat herd are the
yearlings and 2-year olds. The growing animals, with their rapidly
expanding blood volumes are susceptible to blood loss due to the
actions of certain species of the stomach worms. This age group also is
the most likely to suffer malnutrition which will make them more
susceptible to parasitic disease. It is a proven fact that animals
receiving an adequate, balanced ration are less susceptible to parasite
4 The older members of a herd will generally be resistant to
parasitism due to prior exposure to the various parasites. However,
they will harbor subclinical numbers of the common parasites and
thereby serve as reserviors of infection for the younger, susceptible
members of the herd.
5 All of the parasitic organisms that are capable of producing
disease in goats follow a definite life cycle pattern. In general, the
actual infection of the goat is by mouth, but there are some necessary
developmental stages that occur in the environment, such as in the pastur
6 The use of anthelmintic drugs as a part of controlling stomach worm
infections in goats is an important and essential part of the total herd
health program. The exact drug to use is determined by the cost per
dose and ease of administration with most species of domesticated
animals. However, only thiabendazole and phenothiazine are approved for
use in goats by the Food and Drug Administration. These anthelmintics
are effective, and are probably sufficient for goat use, in my
opinion. This is because anthelmintics should be used only as an aid to
the series of management techniques that are outlined in Figure 2. It
is proven fact that when anthelmintic drugs are substituted for good
management in stomach worm control in a goat herd, poor results are
always the end result.
7 Less common and, therefore, less important internal parasites of
goats are liver flukes (Fasciola hepatica), lungworms (Dictyocaulus
sp.) and whipworms (Trichuris sp.). These parasites do not respond to
thiabendazole or phenothiazine treatment, but other drugs are
available, on prescription from a licensed veterinarian. Fortunately,
the management practices recommended for controlling stomach worms are
effective for controlling these less common parasites.
8 In conclusion, stomach worms are considered one of the most
pathogenic gastrointestinal parasites of goats. They are best
controlled by strict management procedures which include drug
treatment, but which mainly depends on the prevention of fecal
contamination of feed and water.