August 2018 Issue



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Across most of the USA, Haemonchus contortus (barberpole stomach worm) is the primary internal parasite causing illness and death in goats. This worm has a short life cycle producing many generations per year, sucks blood causing anemia, and kills goats. Note: Coccicidiosis, another internal parasite, is a protozoan, and does not respond to dewormers but requires a completely different medication.

All dewormers used with goats must be given orally. No over-the-back pour-ons and no injections.

FAMACHA is a valuable field test only. Do not rely on it as a first or only line of defense. The color of the inner lower eye membrane reveals only those stomach worms that are already sucking blood and causing anemia. FAMACHA does not tell you how many worms are in the goat that haven't yet developed to begin sucking blood. Microscopic fecal egg counts are essential.

Do not rotate dewormers. Use one dewormer until it quits working, then change to another class of dewormer.

The white-colored dewormers (Safeguard/Panacur, Valbazen) don't kill blood-sucking stomach worms in most of the USA any more. Vets will recommend them because of short withdrawal time in meat and milk residue, but that is irrelevant if the goat died from worms. The "white" dewormers do kill tapeworms, but these worms do not suck blood. In some parts of the USA, the 'mectins (Ivomec and Cydectin) are no longer effective against stomach worms. Doing fecals is critical to finding out exactly what is going on.

Don't use feed-based dewormers or dewormers that you top-dress on feed or "organic" or "all-natural" or "homeopathic" dewormer with goats. Some folks want to believe it, so companies sell them, but goats must be dewormed with ethical dewormers made by pharmaceutical companies to keep goats healthy. Goats have a strict pecking order. The goat needing deworming the most will be the one who gets the least amount to eat.

Accurately dose dewormers. Under-dosing or over-dosing allows worms to survive the dewormer. Everything we use for goats is off-label, so you must learn accurate dosing from a knowledgeable source. Proper usage and storage of a dewormer affects its effectiveness.

Use "Smart Drench" techniques. Only deworm goats in need of treatment. Use FAMACHA, fecal egg count, and clinical signs of infection (bottlejaw, rough hair coat, depression, off feed, diarrhea, etc) to identify infected goats. Use a drenching nozzle (not an injection syringe) to place the dewormer dose over the back of the tongue. Dewormer deposited in the front of the mouth doesn't get into the proper part of the goat's stomach and also may be spit out.

Fast the goats. Take goats off feed for 12 hours before and keep them off feed for 12 hours after deworming. Do not ever take goats off water. Obviously, this is not good for nursing does, so schedule de-worming around lactation.

Sometimes you have to use two different dewormers at the same time. When a single dewormer isn't working, combinations of dewormers may be necessary. This will increase the overall worm kill. However, if the goat population is too dense and/or the climate is too wet, this will not solve the problem.

Deworming does not mean it worked. The only way to know if the dewormer actually worked is to do fecal egg counts under a microscope before and after treatment.

Frequent deworming makes the wormload worse. Stomach worms develop resistance to dewormers very quickly. We have few choices and new dewormers are unlikely.

Do fecal counts under a microscope regularly. Doing fecal egg counts at least once a month and FAMACHA every two weeks from late spring to early fall will help identify goats needing treatment. The only way to know what kinds of worms and what wormload exists is by doing fecals. Fecal egg counts are the first line of defense in the war on worms.

Learn to do your own fecals. Buy an MSK-01 microscope (corded, not battery powered, and usually available on and the necessary supplies. "How do do your own fecals" is on the Articles page at For further parasite training, attend GoatCamp(tm) at Onion Creek Ranch every October to receive microscopic fecal egg count training and FAMACHA certification.

Over-crowded conditions and/or climate too wet = death sentence for goats. Under such conditions, you can de-worm repeatedly and not solve the problem. Some locales are simply not suitable for raising goats.

You can't count on finding veterinarians for goat advice and care. Goats are a minor ruminant species (less than two million in the USA in 2013 and declining in numbers, down from 12 million in 1990), so vets don't receive much formal education about goats. Goats are not a sizeable market for vets or pharmaceutical companies, so many goat raisers have to learn about goat care from other reliable sources. You definitely need a vet for prescription medications, surgery, and broken bones. Do your best to find one.

Find a mentor who knows goats. Educate yourself, with that person's assistance, to better care for your goats.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 6/5/17

Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


Goat Camp™ 2018

Taking reservations for
Goat Camp™ 2018
Oct 22-25, 2018
Click Here for more info...




Last call for GoatCamp™ 2018 COMING UP SOON -- SIGN UP NOW

Come join us at Onion Creek Ranch at its new location near Briggs, Texas (northwest of Austin about 20 miles south of Lampasas east US 183) for the week of Oct 22-25, 2018 for an all breed educational event designed with all types of meat goat producers in mind. Newbie or established goat raiser, you will learn more in four days than you will in four years on your own.

Learn about:

  • Breeding, Kidding, Kid care
  • Tubing, injections
  • Nutrition, Balancing and formulating rations
  • Hoof trimming, hoof care
  • Necropsy
  • Tattooing, ear tagging
  • Diseases affecting goats
  • Drawing blood, disease testing
  • FAMACHA training, reading fecals
  • Selecting goats for breeding, market sales, etc
  • Marketing your animals
  • Routine handling, restraints
  • Humane slaughter demonstration
  • Private Property rights
  • and much more, all on a working goat ranch.

The GOATCAMP™ Instructors

  • MARK SWENING, D.V.M., VETERINARIAN, Coleman, Texas Vet Clinic

* The GoatCamp™2018 Intern Program is now accepting applications for a limited number of Internships. Interns receive free tuition in exchange for helping with the work at GoatCamp™. Persons with little to no experience with goats are encouraged to attend as paying students; much of the work of an Intern has to do with the operation of GoatCamp™ and not directly with goats. If you are interested please send your resume to I'd like to know about your experience with goats and why you'd like to become an Intern.

* GoatCamp™2018 is limited to 25 students. The new ranch cannot accommodate additional students.

* Classroom instruction alternating with hands-on work with Onion Creek Ranch goats.


Registration Form ONLINE on the GoatCamp™ page at

For additional information, contact Suzanne Gasparotto 512-265-2090 or email me at


My name is Christy Dalros. I attended Goat Camp™ in October 2016. A few weeks ago, I noticed one of my does was not acting like her normal self. She had recently given birth to triplets and had been fine up until then. I check eyes at least weekly and she had good pink membranes prior. When I checked her eyes that day she was at a 4 on the FAMACHA scale. I immediately took a fecal sample and her count was extremely high. I began deworming her but she went down to a 5 on the FAMACHA scale soon after and developed bottle jaw. I have been so worried but I have run fecal samples on her weekly and continued deworming. I started her on daily iron and B-12. I also started giving her all the alfalfa she wanted for the added protein. I am happy to say that today she had no signs of bottle jaw and her eyes were at a 3 on the FAMACHA scale.

I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to attend Goat Camp.™ Without your class, I would not have known what to do. I lost more than 10 goats last year by this time and because of the training GoatCamp™ gave me, I am happy to say that ALL of my goats are thriving. I run my own fecal tests, something I would never have known how to do without Goat Camp™, and I refer to your articles and the notes from GoatCamp™ regularly. Thank you so much for the knowledge you shared. You have helped me more than you know.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Breeding age Myotonics, TMG’s, TexMasters™ as well as nice commercial crosses available year round. Contact us for your breeding stock needs.

Pat Cotten 501-581-5700
Bending Tree Ranch located near Greenbrier, Arkansas

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Fullblood TexMaster™ bucklings available

These and more available at
Bending Tree Ranch. 




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