October 2020 Issue



Subscribe to Meat Goat ManiaEmail UsOnion Creek RanchBending Tree RanchOCR Health & Management ArticlesMGM Archive

Visit us on FaceBook for current news

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.


The primary cause of anemia in goats is the Barberpole stomach worm (Haemonchus contortus). The Barberpole stomach worm feeds on blood, destroying red blood cells which deliver oxygen to all of the organs in the goat's body, including the brain and muscles. Oxygen depletion can be so severe that the goat's muscles cease to work and its brain and other organs fail. Too many goat raisers don't realize how life threatening the Barberpole worm is to goats.

Hypoproteinemia is the protein depletion that results from a rapid reduction in red blood cells. A common external symptom is bottlejaw -- a swelling under the chin that worsens as the day passes and may seem to disappear by morning, only to re-appear the next evening. Edema is the term that refers to the swelling that is the result of fluid leaving blood vessels (caused by hypoprotenemia, i.e. severe protein deficiency) and pooling under the chin.

Anemia is a life-threatening illness to goats from which they will not recover until you have administered the appropriate dewormer to kill the worms causing the problem and begin a long-term treatment with Vitamin B 12 injections and iron supplements. There is no quick fix for curing anemia in goats.

The easiest way in the field to diagnose anemia caused by Haemonchus contortus is to use the FAMACHA field test for worms. Using a thumb or index finger, pull down the lower eyelid and look at the color of its inner membrane. A healthy non-anemic goat has a bright red to bright pink inner lower eye membrane. Light pink is not good. White is definitely anemia and immediate treatment is required or the goat is going to die. Repeat: A goat with a light pink or white inner lower eye membrane is anemic and is going to die without immediate treatment.

Goat raisers should attend a workshop teaching proper use of FAMACHA. Dr. Jim Miller, parasitologist at Louisiana State University, provides FAMACHA training at GoatCamp™ at Onion Creek Ranch in Texas each October. Go to www.tennesseemeatgoats.com to the GoatCamp™ page for information.

Do not solely rely on FAMACHA to determine worm load. The only accurate way to know what you are dealing with is to do fecal egg counts using a microscope and a McMasters slide. You must know the number of eggs per gram and that is only possible by doing fecal egg counts with a McMasters slide under a microscope.

LIVER FLUKES can cause anemia, but liver flukes by themselves usually disrupt just a few blood vessels and feed on the pooled blood. Over a long period of time anemia can slowly develop from liver fluke infection, but at nowhere near the level or speed that it occurs from the Barberpole stomach worm. FAMACHA does not reflect liver fluke infection but rather solely Barberpole stomach worms. : The presence of liver flukes cannot be detected by a normal fecal test; a fecal sedementation test using the Baermann technique is required.

Other sources of anemia may come from external parasites such as blood-sucking LICE, TICKS, and FLEAS. However, the blood loss from external parasites pales in comparison to that lost from internal parasites, with the exception of anaplasmosis.

ANAPLASMOSIS is not the usual cause of anemia in goats but it is showing up in some areas of the United States as an external parasite problem that causes anemia. Anaplasmosis is passed from goat to goat by insects (ticks, fleas, biting flies) that feed between infected and susceptible animals. Symptoms are generalized and often include extreme sensitivity to stress and overall listlessness to the point of weakness.

The organism, Anaplasma ovis, can also cause abortions. This parasite enters and destroys red blood cells, thereby causing anemia. Diagnosis is done through blood testing. Treatment involves oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml (LA 200 or equivalent) injections Infected goats should be isolated and treated individually. Eliminating the vectors (ticks, fleas, biting flies) that carry anaplasmosis is very difficult, so it is wise to treat all animals in the herd at the same time. In large herds, individual dosing of every goat is recommended since it isn't possible to isolate each animal.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas. 10.1.20


Goat Camp™ 2020

Taking reservations for
Goat Camp™ 2020
Oct 26-29, 2020
Click Here for more info...


Shop JeffersLivestock.com


GoatCamp2020™ will be held at Onion Creek Ranch near Briggs, Texas (just north of Austin, Texas) Oct 26- 29,2020.

We  will be doing it a bit different this year. So people are more comfortable with avoiding the China virus, everything will be held under  roofed but open-air facilities. Classroom instruction will be held under the 8,000 s.ft. Goat Barn. I am purchasing windscreen for the north  and west sides of the GoatBarn to provide wind break if weather turns cold or rainy.

Food  and drink will be provided in the building where classes have been held  in the past, allowing us to open roll-up doors on both ends for ventilation.

People who want to wear masks are welcome to do so.

I am accepting fewer applications this year so as to keep population density low and allow for social distancing.

Details and sign-up information on the GoatCamp™ page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Pat Cotten 501-679-4936
Bending Tree Ranch located near Greenbrier, Arkansas

"Like" Bending Tree Ranch on Facebook

2020 TexMaster™ bucklings still available




Subscribe to Meat Goat ManiaEmail UsOnion Creek RanchBending Tree RanchOCR Health & Management ArticlesMGM Archive

Meat Goat Mania
Shop for the Best Discounted Pet, Equine, & Livestock Supplies!

All information and photos copyright © Onion Creek Ranch and may not be used without express written permission of Onion Creek Ranch. TENNESSEE MEAT GOAT ™ and TEXMASTER™ are Trademarks of Onion Creek Ranch . All artwork and graphics © DTP, Ink and Onion Creek Ranch.Webhosting by Khimaira