Goat Parasites and Management


This page is also going to be long but very informative. I will always update as I learn new information. There may be alot of repetition on this page due to it has taken me 2 yrs to put it together and sometimes I just forget. Also, everyone has so much good information in their articles that I have been given permission to share that I just couldnt leave anything out. I want you to see others opinions as well as mine and results and then you can decifer for yourself.
Im going to try to put alot of pictures on here and if they are too small to see, you can right click on them, save image as to your computer, and zoom in on the pic. You will also have it later for your records. Also if some of the links I post are not clickable when you hover over them just copy and paste them to your browser and it will pull up.

Parasites (internal and external) is something we as livestock owners struggle and fight against now more than ever. Due to climate change and other issues, parasites are coming out of the wood work literally. Veterinarians are constantly trying to find new products because alot of dewormers have just been exhausted (doesnt work anymore).I also believe we have exhausted them because we are not educated enough to know how to use them correctly, sometimes we are playing guessing games and we just deworm. Dont get offended Im not calling anyone uneducated. Its just that so many things have changed so fast, we are not keeping up with the latest issues.

Disclaimer: Once again this is what works for me on my farm through long hours of research, reading and expieriementing. I am also not a veterinarian. You do not have to do it my way. Go by what works on your farm and by your convictions. By all means if something is not working, get them to the vet. Learn to do your own fecal samples, you can learn anything on the internet. Dont skimp out on a good microscope.

I am eventually going to get my own microscope and learn how to do my own fecal samples. That is the best way to identify them. You have to know what specific kind you are battling. If you worm for a parasite that you “think” they have and come to find out that is not the one, then you are defeating the purpose. You have given them something that is not targeting the right thing for no reason. Have a good relationship with your vet who is educated in Goats that can identify all the major worms that infest goats. Your County Extension Office should be able to help too. Later I will discuss other ways to help control parasites. I will try to categorize things the best way I can so it will be easier for you to follow.

The reason it is important to do fecals is because a goats normal poo is round pellets. If you notice it is clumpy or sticking together, or if it looks like a dog or cats poo, or if it is wet and especially runny then YOU HAVE AN ISSUE. This is a good indicator to watch. Dont just start throwing wormers at them because you see this. Just do a fecal sample or if you dont know how yet take some to the vet. Runny poo can be a sign of Coccidiosis too which is a protozoa parasite which requires some kind of  Sulfa drug to rid them. So if you give a wormer and they have cocci, you have wormed for nothing.  Always check their temp first, because if  the abnormal poo is accompanied by fever then it is a possible infection not parasites.

If nothing can be found in fecal samples then have them draw blood to send off for tests. You can also learn to draw your own blood. Here is a great link to learn how. There are several videos out there. http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/video/how-to-draw-blood-on-a-goat-by-freedom-star-farm

One good thing to keep in mind is to always monitor your animals. I mean physically look at them everyday. Notice coats, a poor looking coat that is rough, brittle and changing colors is a sign of an issue. Notice the eyelids. Pull down the bottom eyelid and it should be a bright pink color. If it is light pink to going white you have a serious issue.  Notice hooves. Keeping hooves trimmed is very essential to keep away foot rot and lameness issues.

There are certain things that will give you a clue that something is “not right” and they do not feel good.  If they are isolating themselves away from the herd, they are standing hunch backed, not eating, grinding teeth, most of all fever.  Pay attention to their diet, watch out for moldy or wet hay or even moldy feed. These can make them really sick. Do not switch their feed or hay suddenly. Do it gradually.

ATTENTION: any time you give wormers, medications of any sort and etc. follow up with  Vitamin B Complex (preferrably fortified) and some Probiotics. Wormers and medications strip the rumen of  these vitamins and can cause other issues like Goat Polio or Listeriosis. You have to replace the bacteria they need and rebuffer the rumen. This is essential to their health. If you do not have any commercial Probiotics on hand, yogurt always works.
Here is a good article on doing your own fecal samples (printed with permission): I will leave somemore links at the bottom of this for more pics and articles on fecal samples and how to recognize them.
Parasites are the biggest health management problem facing goat producers. Worms and coccidia kill more goats than all other illnesses combined. Every goat producer should schedule routine microscopic examinations of goat pills (feces) for worms and coccidia. Do not wait for a problem; prevent it.
Doing fecals is easy. All you need are a few supplies and some goat poop. An inexpensive and suitable microscope is the MSK-01 with 4 x 10 x 40 power and a movable stage. As of this writing, it is available for $100 from www.professionalmicroscopes.com (MilesCo Scientific). A movable stage is needed so that the slide can be moved side to side as you look through the eyepiece.
Additional supplies needed are test tubes (12 cc syringe covers will suffice), plain glass slides (McMaster green-gridded slides are not necessary unless you are trying to raise goats in an area of heavy rainfall), slide covers (optional), fecal floatation solution (sodium nitrate can be obtained from a vet), a stirrer (fecal loop or popsicle stick), a block of styrofoam (hollowed out to hold the test tubes upright), and a chart depicting worm eggs and coccidia oocysts. Here is a link to the parasite chart site: www.apacapacas.com/parasites/ McMasters slides are only available from Chalex Corp. at www.vetslides.com.

Now for the fun part. Catch the goat whose pills you want to check and collect fresh feces, either by using a fecal loop to gather it from inside the goat, or stand around for a few minutes until the goat drops some pills. Given their fast metabolism, goats defecate often. Do not use dried-out goat pills when doing fecal examinations. Empty pill bottles are good for collection and labeling. For goats with diarrhea who require fecal testing, put on a pair of disposable gloves and obtain a fecal sample by inserting your gloved fingers into the goat. Turn the glove inside out, then cut the glove and place the fecal material on the slide.

Put three of four fresh goat pills into the test tube and pour just enough floatation solution into the tube to cover them completely. Mash them with the stirrer. Fill the tube with more floatation solution to the point that it is slightly overflowing. Place a glass slide over the top, letting a suction form with the solution against the slide, and place the slide in your styrofoam test-tube holder. Wait five minutes to allow the eggs to float to the top and adhere to the slide.

Carefully remove the slide from the top of the test tube and place the slide into the microscope’s viewing holder (movable stage) . Dispose of the contents of the test tube. Using the chart of worm eggs and coccidia oocysts, slowly adjust the lens to suit your eyes and move the slide from side to side until you find worm eggs and/or coccidia oocysts. The main worm problem in goats in the USA is Haemonchus contortus; this worm sucks blood, causing anemia and death. The funny-looking darkened zeroes with a small white pinhole center are water bubbles. Since the slide’s contents have not be strained, there will be debris in the mixture, so ignore it and look only for the parasite eggs as the chart depicts them.

Almost every goat has a few worms and even some coccidia oocysts to help stimulate its immune system. But if you find more than a couple of eggs or oocysts in your fecal sample, take appropriate corrective measures by medicating the goat properly.

There are far more sophisticated methods for doing fecals, but the procedure outlined above will suffice quite well for the average goat producer. It will tell you what you need to know in order to keep your herd’s fecal counts low. Be aware that Liver Flukes will not show up in fecal samples, they are only detected by blood tests. You will have to have blood drawn.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto
Websites for fecal sample pictures:

http://www.fiascofarm.com/goats/fecals.htm Excellent and very informative article with lots of pictures of different parasite eggs and worms.
PLEASE get on a worming schedule. I dont care if you use herbal remedies or chemical remedies, just use something. It is your preference.I have heard alot of people say, “I dont worm unless I see symptoms or a problem.” Well, I learned the hard way that if you wait that long, it may be too late. Goats can go down quickly with a parasite overload. It could take a while for “symptoms” to show up, by then they could be eat up that it would take a miracle to get rid of them before it completely takes them over. My motto: AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE!!!!!! You can do it two ways: you can deworm the whole herd at one time, or worm the one that has been positive for parasites. Nine times out of ten, your gonna wind up worming the whole herd anyway because of infestation.They spread.

I am on a strict worming schedule because of the conditions of our area. I have researched, expiermented, and lost sleep over all this. My only peace is PREVENTION!!!! I have lost some to parasite overloads because I just didnt do something right or they werent caught in time. I feel really awful and feel as if I owe it to the rest of my herd. They depend on me. I am their Shepherd, Chef, and Doctor among other things.
What kind of Dewormer to use:
First let me start by saying it depends on what kind of parasite they have, conditions in your area, whether or not you want to go herbal or chemical and if you want a injection or drench. All your wormers target certain parasites. Its hard to find one wormer that kills all at the same time and that kills all staged of the worm (egg, larvae, and adult). Some wormers work on the intestines, (drenches or pelleted dewormers) some work specifically through the blood stream (injections).

I have tried both herbal and chemical. In all my expiermentation let me just say, herbal is ok as a preventative, but if for some reason a parasite gets past it, I have to go chemical or I could loose one quickly. Herbal wormers take longer to work, and chemical wormers work fast. Time is of the essence, and monitoring fecal samples and inspecting every one everyday will help you stay on top of your game.

Herbal or natural dewormers can include things like Diatomaceous Earth (the food grade), pumpkins, Wormwood, Garlic. Each one of these use caution, for example: too much pumpkin can cause bloat. I would only use DE maybe seasonally or annually. You can just sprinkle it on their food. It makes the parasites exoskeleton dry up and crack killing the parasite so they can deposit it (use this in combination with a chemical dewormer since evidence has not proven that DE kills all internal parasites: see note below on DE). I have used garlic, it just causes strong breath. lol Hoeggers Goat Supply has a great Herbal Dewormer. I would recommend it if you want to go natural. Molly’s Herbals at Fias Co. Farm is really good too.
Drenches go straight to the intestines stripping the walls of parasites to pass them through the fecal matter. Injections go straight to the blood stream.

Chemical Dewormers, BOY! do you have a list
You have all different kinds of name brands, just like products at Walmart…its the”ingredient” you want to look for. Read your labels. Here is a list of common dewormers:
Keep in mind that alot of these are not labeled for goats, I have read that for goats you would double the dose for goats as to what it says to dose for sheep. If your not sure by all means call the manufacturer. If you can try to find one that kills all stages or the worm, egg, larvae, and adult. Some only kill the adult stage, which leaves alot of guess work on when to worm. Make sure you see if it is safe for all ages and for pregnant does.
Also, keep in mind that Barber Pole Worms are stomach worms that are considered Round worms. I will get to different wormers later on this page and their life cycles and pics.
There are now five classes of dewormers: You can choose drenches and injectables in just about all these dewormers. Let me repeat, all wormers do not kill all stages and all worms in one wormer, you may have to combine and make sure you are targeting the right worm your goat has. In other words do not worm for Liver flukes if your not sure thats the kind they have. YOU HAVE TO PINPOINT>
1) Avermectins (Ivermectin) the “clear” de-wormers; Dectomax and Cydectin are in this category. Ivermectin: can come in injectable or drench form. Treatment and control of external and internal parasites(i.e. Adult liver flukes, roundworms, lung worms, lice and mange mites.) Follow label directions. There is a Ivermectin Plus or Ivomec Plus( 1% Ivermectin) that has an extra ingredient(10% Clorsulon) that kills Liver Flukes. Ivermectin Plus has been said to not be safe for pregnant does in the first 50 days of pregnancy. Dectomax: is a broad spectrum injectable internal/external parasite control that lasts longer for extended control of adult worms and eggs. Approved for pregnant does. Cydectin:is a drench that controls 13 types of adult and larva stage internal parasites.
2) Benzimidazoles (Valbazen, Safeguard, Panacur, Telmin, Synanthic, Benzelmin, Anthelcide, TBZ): the “white” dewormers,
Warning: Do not de-worm pregnant does with Valbazen. It can cause abortions. Valbazen: is a drench for removal and control of liver flukes, tapeworms, stomach worms, round worms, intestinal worms and lung worms. Follow label directions. This one does have a label for goats. Safeguard: is labeled for goats. Safe-Guard 10% Suspension for Goats Fenbendazole family.
White Liquid Dewormer
For goats administer 1ml/cc per 43.5 pounds or .023ml per pound (PO) by mouth.
For removal and control of Adult Haemonchus and Teladorsagia circumcincta (brown stomach worm). Safe for all stages of pregnancy, breeding bucks and kids. Repeat dose 4-6 weeks if needed.
Do not treat within 6 days of slaughter. Withdrawal time in milk has not been established for this product.
3) Imidothiazole (Tramisol) is in the same class as Levamisole number 5 below.
4) Amino-Acitonitrile Derivatives (AAD) — This new class of dewormer, which has been developed by Norvartis and marketed under the name Zolvix(tm), is currently on the market for sheep in New Zealand and is not available in the US. When or if it might be available in the US is anyone’s guess.
5) Anthelmintic: Prohibit is the name brand and Levamisole is the ingredient. It was once taken off the market but now has been put back on. This is a drench. It controls stomach, intestinal and lung worms in cattle and sheep. Follow directions carefully.
Additional Notes: (this information is from a well trusted website www.Goatwisdom.com Printed with permission.
Doing a fecal will tell you what worms you are dealing with and will help you choose the right dewormer. Checking the inner bottom eyelids of your goats will also help you know if you are dealing with worms. The bottom inner eyelid should be bright pink to red in color, anything less than this indicates worms.

Rotating your dewormer between 2/3 different products can help keep a good control on the worms and to not build up a resistance. For example you can use Ivomec during the breeding season because it won’t injure fetuses and Valbazen right after delivery because this is a time of severe stress.
For prevention of digestive disturbance following deworming, administer the proper dose of probios. Also, an injection of Fortified Vitamin B12 Complex, 1ml per 20lb or .05ml per pound, will help with the stress of worms and deworming. Contains: Thiamine Hydrochloride 100 mg

Repeating the deworming dosages at 14 21 28 days will help kill adult and larvae/eggs that have hatched. So, if you know what worm(s) you are dealing with make sure to follow the redoseing date recommendations.

**Haemonchus (barber pole worms) retreat in 14 days. It is important to deworm does a few days before freshening and the day of or the day after freshening due to periparturient rise, which means female worms are in high drive to reproduce massive numbers of eggs–natures adaptation–the next generation of kid goats will become infected, and thus continue the parasite cycle. The Haemonchus are also known to undergo arrested development, which means they sit quietly in the true stomach of ruminants following infection and don’t become adults until several months later–natures adaptation–keeping the worm around through cold winters, thus spring deworming is recommended.
**Dictyocaulus viviparus (lungworms) retreat in 21 or 28 days, depending on the choice of dewormer.
**Fasciola hepatica (Liver Fluke) Strategically applied treatments in the late autumn/winter or in spring are very useful recommendations for on farm control.
Goats have thin hides (relative to other ruminants, such as cattle) and very fast metabolisms. For these reasons, do not use dewormers as “back drenches or pour ons” on goats. Back drenching goats with anthelmentics has been proven to be both undesirable and ineffective.

Diatomaceous Earth is currently a popular product which some people believe acts as a dewormer. As of this date, every study which has been done on the de-worming efficacy of DE has proven that it is not effective against internal parasites. If you are one of those people who believe in DE with an almost religious fervor, please do both yourself and your goats a favor and also use an ethical dewormer from the list above. It may be that DE will allow longer stretches between deworming. Until a controlled study proves DE’s effectiveness against internal parasites, do not rely on it solely to keep your goats dewormed.

Deworming feed additives and deworming blocks are available to be purchased. Unless the producer has the ability to feed each goat individually every day, do not use these products. The producer has no assurance of each goat’s having received an adequate dosage of deworming medication. The least aggressive animal — the one least likely to go to the deworming block or fight for feed containing dewormer additives — is usually the one who needs it most. So take the time to measure the medication and give it to each animal individually. This way you can make sure each goat gets the right dose and gets exactly what they need.
How to cut down on parasites:

Number one thing, please keep your barn clean…have you lifted up the hay or shavings and seen what is hidden under there…..YUCK!!!!! Maggots, worms etc….I wouldnt want to lay on that stuff either. I have used all of it and the last time I did and I cleaned out the barn I about puked..I was gagging so bad just to think I had let that stuff creep in and they were lying on it. I now have stripped the floors and my floor is wood in my barn. I sweep out everyday and sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on the floor to cut down on flies..You see flies you will have maggots. Later I plan to put down rubber mats for comfort and you can take these out and clean them as well. Number two, keep feed and water troughs clean all the time, scrub them with some bleach and water and let them dry in the sun. Change water frequently. Number three, as far as the pasture goes. Alot of people are set up to rotational graze. This means you create paddocks and let them in one pasture for a few weeks, then close that one off and move them to another for a couple of weeks. Keep alternating. Number 4, do not overcrowd make sure there is adequate room for goats per acre. Number 5, keep grass in pasture high. If you bush hog or mow it down close to the ground that is where the parasites are. Goats need to browse high not low. Number 6, if you have chickens by all means let them out to peck in all that good poop. I know that sounds gross but its true, they go through and pick up undigested pieces of corn, eggs, flies, etc. Their good cleaner uppers. Last I think, keep hay off ground. If they poop or pee on it, sometimes they will eat it. Some are picky and want, you never know.

Now I will try to discuss as best I can your different kinds of worms and their life cycles.Once again Im going to print several articles with permissions of course.

The Dreaded Barber Pole:

The Barber Pole Worm is the number one killer in goats. It is a gastrointestinal or intestinal worm that is in the Round Worm or Stomach Worm family. Where we live we battle with this one more than any.Your vet or local county extension office should be able to tell you what worms and parasites thrive in the conditions where you live. For example people up north may suffer from a different kind of worm than the south because of climate.
The Barber Pole Worm:
How to Cope With a Killer
By Jackie Nix
Internal parasites, particularly roundworms, are the number one health concern in goat production. Of the many different roundworms, the most important is the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus). The barber pole worm is so named because it has a red and white striped appearance, like a barber pole. This parasite feeds on blood (thus the red striping) causing blood loss in the affected goat. In severe enough cases, anemia will occur. Anemia can be detected by paleness around the mucus membranes of the eyes, inside of the mouth or inside edge of the rectum or vagina. A condition called bottle jaw (swelling under the jaw) may also occur. Barber pole worms reduce feed efficiency by damaging intestinal cells, thus interfering with adsorption of digested feed. Diarrhea may also occur but sometimes the goat dies before diarrhea can develop. Other symptoms include loss of weight, poor growth, unthriftiness, and a marked decrease in milk production.
All goats are infected with barber pole worms to some extent. The key concept to remember is that infection is not paramount to disease. Contrary to what one might think, it is actually not in the goats best interest to have a worm-free herd. By continual exposure to small numbers of internal parasites, the goats immune system is able to maintain natural resistance. In the absence of this exposure the goats body will not be able to mount a defense quickly enough to stave off disease symptoms when faced with a large parasite challenge and will easily die. So with proper management, we can strive to control rather than eradicate internal parasites.
As with all parasites, it is necessary to understand their life cycle in order to control them.
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First, the goat ingests infective barber pole worm larvae from forages they graze. These larvae pass into the stomach or intestines where they mature into adult worms. Here they mate and produce eggs. An adult female barber pole worm has the potential to lay in excess of 5,000 eggs per day. These eggs are passed through feces into the pasture. Successful development of larvae outside the host depends on climate. Barber pole eggs and larvae love warm, moist conditions and hate cold or very hot, dry conditions. Once they find favorable conditions, the eggs hatch and the barber pole larvae progress through two non-infective stages. The third larval stage is infective. These larvae climb up on forages (usually in the mornings when there is dew on the grass and usually only 1 to 2 inches up the plant) where they are ingested by the goat, thus completing the cycle. It usually takes about 3 weeks to complete this life cycle, however this time may be shorter or longer depending on environmental conditions.
Barber pole larvae can also undergo a process called arrested development where they sit quietly in the abomasum (the true stomach of ruminants) following infection and don’t become adults until several months later. This is an important adaptation for keeping the worm around through cold winters when eggs and larvae don’t survive well on pasture.
Another important adaptation of the barber pole worm is a phenomenon called periparturient rise. Very simply, the female worms, triggered by hormonal changes in does about to give birth, produce massive numbers of eggs that will be shed about the same time as the does kids. This adaptation ensures that the next generation will become infected and thus continue the parasite cycle. So what are some things that can be done to control barber pole populations?

The key is to break the cycle at one or more points. Some management practices that can accomplish this are:
1. Avoid grazing goats on less than 3 inches of pasture canopy. Larvae are unable to climb higher than this on the grass and thus will not be ingested.
2. Increase use of browse in grazing systems. Parasite larvae cannot climb up onto browse so goats dont ingest them.
3. Rotate species on pastures. For example graze cattle or horses behind goats. Because parasites are species specific, when a cow or horse ingests a goat parasite it simply dies without causing damage. An important exception is that this will not work with sheep as they share many parasites with goats.
4. Do not feed on the ground. Elevated feeders help to eliminate fecal contamination and thus parasite transmission.
5. Make sure that water and mineral sources are not contaminated with feces.
6. Allow pastures to rest for at least one year before allowing goats back on them. Larvae will have a hard time surviving that long without a host and therefore the pasture will be relatively worm-free.
7. Utilize annual forages in your pasture systems and till the ground between crops. The act of plowing tends to kill or disrupt the larvae and eggs, reducing transmission. Additionally, annual forages tend to do best when grazed at higher levels (4 to 6 inches of canopy).
Anthelmintics (anti-parasite drugs) can be use with the above practices or alone; however drugs alone do not give long term satisfactory worm control. Some common anthelmintics are thiabendazole (Thibenzole), fenbendazole (Panacur or Safeguard), oxfendazole (Systamex), alvendazole (Valbazen)
levamisole (Nelverm) and ivermectin (Ivomec). See your local veterinarian for recommendations on dosage and type of anthelmintic, as most are not labeled for use in goats.
The FAMACHA monitoring system is now the method of choice in deworming for barberpole worms. FAMACHA involves careful monitoring of the goats inner eyelids for signs of anemia using a standardized chart. Only goats showing signs of anemia are treated with anthelmintics. This method also
identifies chronically parasitized animals, which are then culled, creating a more resistant herd. Training workshops for this method are being held across the country. To learn more visit famacha@vet.uga.edu.
In summary, barber pole worms are a major health care concern. Since eradication is impossible, management techniques must strive to control them. A combination of management practices and anthelmintics works best. Use of dewormers alone offer the poorest control for barber pole worms.
Remember that a goats ability to resist the effects of parasites depends, in part, on its nutritional status.
The mineral status of a goat is essential in its ability to mount an adequate immune response to parasitic challenge. Copper is especially important in this respect. Be sure to provide a complete mineral/vitamin supplement for your goats year-round that contains adequate copper levels. The Sweetlix 16:8 Meat Maker mineral for meat goats, Sweetlix Caprine Magnum-Milk mineral for dairy goats and Sweetlix Meat Maker 20% Pressed Block and Sweetlix Meat Maker Roughage Balancer Tub for all classes of goats are formulated to provide essential minerals (including copper and selenium), vitamins and other nutrients needed to keep goats healthy and productive. Call 1-800-325-1486 or visit our website at www.sweetlix.com to receive a free product brochure or more information.
Right Now Onyx Minerals by Cargill is also great. It has the right amount of Copper for goats. I personally love this one.
Another great read:

2.1. Ecology of Nematode Parasites
The species of nematodes that affect sheep the most belong to the Superfamily Trichostrongyloidea and include Haemonchus, Trichostrongylus, Cooperia, Ostertagia, and Oesophagostomum. Each of these nematodes goes through a direct life cycle, meaning that no intermediated host is needed for the life cycle to be completed.
The females of H. contortus are prolific egg layers.Passage of eggs begins between days sixteen to twenty-three of infection for most genera. Once on pasture, the eggs hatch and depending on the environmental conditions develop (molt) from the free-living first stage larvae (L1), to the free-living second stage larvae (L2) and the finally to the free-living infective third stage larvae (L3) which retains the cuticle of the L2. This can happen (egg hatching to the L3) in as short of a period as five days, but development may be delayed for weeks or months under cool conditions.
The L3 migrate from the feces onto the grass when a moisture medium is present (rain, flood, heavy dew). Once on the grass, they are ingested by grazing sheep. Inside of the host, the sheath of the L3 is cast off in the rumen and then exsheated L3s move to the abomasum where they penetrate the mucosa. By day three to seven in the mucosa they undergo a molt to the fourth stage larvae (L4). The L4s then return to the lumen to lacerate the mucosa and ingest the seeping blood.
After a variable period of time (usually by day ten to fifteen, if arrested
development hasnt occurred) the L4 mature and become adults, completing the cycle . As egg producing adults, the cycle continues. Until recently, strategic use of effective anthelmintics and pasture management has been able to break this cycle.
2.2. Anthelmintic Use and Resistance
Anthelmintics are the most widely used means to control helminth infections The control of nematode parasites is essential for maximizing livestock productivity and feed efficiency. However the control of nematode parasites is becoming more difficult with the increasing resistance of the parasites to common anthelmintics.
The frequent use of anthlemintics can select a subpopulation of parasites
that are resistant to the mode of action at the concentration used. With time, this subpopulation may overwhelm and replace the previously susceptible population.
The earliest reports of anthelmintic resistance involved nematode parasites of sheep and horses. Now resistance has appeared in parasites that affect many animal industries as well as humans; which includes several phyla of helminths and covers all of the major chemical groups of anthelmintics. Parasite resistance to benzimidazoles (i.e. albendazole, thiabendazole, fenbendazole), imidazothiazoles (i.e. levamisole), and macrolides (i.e. ivermectin) has been reported in Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and South America; wherever animals are regularly treated with anthelmintics and investigations have been made . Unfortunately, irreversible resistance develops in helminths, usually within five years of the introduction of the anthelmintic. Resistance of parasitic helminthes to anthelmintics is becoming a serious problem in Veterinary Medicine, especially in sheep husbandry. Because chemical control is the backbone of parasite control, resistance is its inseparable consequence and every effort must be made to delay the onset of resistance.
The main methods for delaying drug resistance are: infrequent use of anthelmintics, utilization of the most active anthelmintic compounds at the highest practical dose, yearly alternation of anthelmintics from different groups, management of pastures to avoid the buildup of resistant populations, and surveillance of newly acquired stock.
Delaying the onset of resistance thru the above mention means are reasonable and practical to help control nematodes, but it is necessary to move away from anthelmintic use as the primary method and look at other methods.
2.3. Alternative Parasite Control
As a consequence of anthelmintic resistance, considerable research effort has been expended on alternative approaches to the control of nematodes of livestock. According to Ketzis (2003) some of these include: nematode-trapping fungi and feed additives that increase the population of fungi; pasture plants that decrease parasite-larvae populations on pastures; forages and medicinal plants that decrease adult parasite populations in the host; and dietary changes (i.e. COWP) that increase the hosts immunological response to parasite infections and decrease production losses caused by parasites. Other control methods being researched are breeding of resistant or resilient hosts use of helminth vaccines the use of copper in various forms and diatomaceous earth which is reported to lacerates the cuticle of the nematode which results in dehydration and death.
Of these methods, the two that seem to be accepted as having the most short-term potential to achieve to the best results are nematode-trapping fungi and COWP. Work on the use of fungi to control livestock parasites dates back to 1939.Experiments using Duddingtonia flagrans have been among the most successful and this fungus has reduced the percentage of L3 on pasture by 76.6 to 100 percent. As for COWP, Bang et al. reported that there was an interaction between copper metabolism and gastrointestinal nematodes. Also, Bang et al. demonstrated the anthelmintic activity of COWP against nematodes in experimentally infected sheep.
2.4. Copper-oxide Wire Particles
The forms of copper most commonly used in animal feed are copper sulfate, copper oxide, copper carbonate, and tribasic copper chloride. Copper oxide is manufactured by roasting copper metal in an oxidizing furnace or by solubilizing copper metal with acid and treating it with a caustic to precipitate copper oxide.
Copper is a necessary trace element in the diet. Maximum immune response is dependent on copper as indicted by depressed antibody titers in deficient animals.
Because of the effect that copper has on the body (man and animal) COWP have been used for many years to treat copper deficiency. But COWP are not only an efficient and effective means of treating copper deficiency in grazing livestock, it can also be potentially useful as an anthelmintic. After dosing, COWP flow with ingesta from the rumen and lodge in the folds of the sheeps abomasum where the low pH induces the release of high concentrations of soluble copper, which have an adverse affect against abomasal species of nematodes. Because of the rapid increase in anthelmintic resistance, this control method is continually being evaluated.
The reported anthelmintic effect of COWP has been seen in numerous studies. In all of those studies the nematode burden of H. contortus was reduced by using the COWP. Each of those studies (except Nyman, 2000) involved experimental infection with H. contortus either once at the beginning of the study or weekly doses for the duration of the study.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect that COWP have on reducing the nematode burden in sheep under natural grazing conditions.

You can read more on Copper Bolusing on my page called Copper and Your Goat.

Phew….that was just Barber Pole and a few other stomach worms. There is plenty more.

Next is Stomach Worms and Lice:

Many goat producers are in a non-stop battle with internal parasites — usually the blood-sucking stomach worm known as Haemonchus contortus (barberpole worm). All goat breeds are affected by H. contortus. You must develop an organized plan for controlling stomach worms in your herd. Parasitologists are telling me that the warm winter of 2011-2012 is going to produce a bumper crop of worms in 2012. Observing your goats for signs of worms, treating as needed, and culling where necessary will be more important than ever.

Do not randomly select a dewormer. Get fecal counts done by a vet to find out which internal parasites are present in your goats. You need to know the enemy you will be fighting. Your problem may be something other than stomach worms, and you may not need to change dewormers. All goats have worms of some type and in some quantity. Their existence is necessary to stimulate the goat’s immune system to fight them. If you want to do fecal counts yourself too, that’s fine — but get fecal counts done by a veterinary professional with whom you can compare results. This diagnosis is too important to leave to a producer inexperienced in performing fecals. The FAMACHA field test should be done in conjunction with with microscoped fecal counts; these two tests work well together to give you a comprehensive evaluation of your goats’ wormloads.
Do you know why stomach worms are such a huge health issue in goats? Haemonchus contortus worms suck blood, producing severe anemia through their consumption of red blood cells. A heavy wormload is a life-threatening condition to goats. Many goats die from severe anemia caused by heavy stomach worm loads. Until the goat is deathly ill and usually too far gone to be saved, the animal will continue to eat and eat and eat . . . all the while losing ground to the damage being caused by the stomach worm.

Once the worm causing problems is identified, choose the correct dewormer and use it until it quits working. Do not rotate dewormers. Develop the habit of checking the coloration of the inner lower eye membrane (FAMACHA field test) every time you handle a goat for any reason. The inner lower eye membrane should be bright red to bright pink. If it is pink to light pink, the goat is likely wormy; if it is white, the goat is anemic and needs far more help than just deworming. See my article on Anemia on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com for appropriate treatments. Remember that the FAMACHA field test is only good for identifying the Haemonchus contortus stomach worm, and in most of the USA, other worms can also cause substantial production losses and health issues without causing anemia and death, making FAMACHA of limited value. It is important to know what worms your goats have and to continue to do fecal counts at regular intervals.

Most dewormers used with goats are “off-label,” i.e. the manufacturer has not spent the time and money necessary to test the dewormer for effectiveness, proper dosing, and withdrawal times and obtain government approval to label the product for use in goats. The main reason is that goats as a species are not considered a large enough market for the manufacturers to earn back these costs. Safeguard/Panacur has been approved for use with goats, but in many locations in the USA, this product is no longer effective against stomach worms. Morantel tartrate, a feed-based dewormer, has been approved for use with goats. Feed-based dewormers are not very effective when goats are fed in groups because the goat needing the medication the worst will also be the lowest in the pecking order and will therefore get the least amount of medicated feed. Goats should be individually orally drenched with a weight-appropriate dosage of dewormer. (This same reasoning applies to medications put into water for liquid consumption.) Back drenches, also known as pour-ons, are not effective with goats because of the hide structure of the species.

Goats are dry-land animals who are very susceptible to internal parasites, especially stomach worms. Think of them as “first cousins” to deer in how they live, eat, and need to roam over multiple acres of land. They instinctively eat “from the top down” like deer to protect themselves from stomach worms. Goats made to graze on pasture will get infected with stomach worms, especially on short pasture. Do not think that tall grasses are the answer, because goats search for the newest and most tender sprigs as they are the most nutritious. These new sprigs are closest to the ground — where the blood-sucking stomach worms are waiting to be ingested.

There is much discussion nowadays regarding the level of resistance, tolerance, and susceptibility to worms by different meat-goat breeds. Resistance refers to goats whose immune systems have counteracted the effects of a high worm load and survived, leaving them with fewer worms than their herd mates. True resistance should be genetically set. Dr. Jim Miller, parasitologist at Louisiana State University, told me in March 2012 that he knows of no scientific documentation proving any breed of goats to be genetically resistant to worms in the USA. This does not mean that no such breeds exist, but at this point in time none have been identified and documented. Tolerance describes goats that harbor in their bodies a worm level that kills susceptible animals; they tolerate the worm infection. Susceptible goats need to be culled and slaughtered — not sent to a sale barn where other goat producers may buy and breed them. Individual goats within a herd may be worm resistant, but no given herd or breed in its entirety can be so identified. Individual goats that are worm-resistant and worm-tolerant are what you should be selecting to keep. Determining whether they are “worm resistant” or “worm tolerant” requires routine fecal tests and record keeping that may be beyond the capability of some producers and isn’t critical to know. Simply select for goats that handle a reasonable worm load and cull the others. I cannot stress enough the importance of culling poor performers, whether they are susceptible to worms or other infections or whether they have poor body conformation. Culling never goes out of style, no matter how long you have been raising goats.

Important: Goats that are tolerant of worms are not tolerant of every type of worm nor do they automatically carry that tolerance from one location to another. I repeat: Goats that are tolerant of worms are *not* tolerant of every type of worm nor do they automatically carry that tolerance from one location to another. Tolerance is only against the worms that goats have been exposed to in their natural habitat. If that environment changes and different worms are introduced or if the goats are moved into a different worm’s territory, then adaptability must occur all over again. See my article on Adaptability on the Articles page at http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. Conditions change on the same property from month to month, year to year, and even from pasture to pasture. Regularly scheduled fecal counts are critical to inform you which goats are productive and to keep your herd healthy.

Understand the concept of adaptability. When moved, goats need time (months, not days or weeks, and sometimes longer) to adapt to the bacteria, viruses, worms, cocci, and other organisms that inhabit their new home. This is true of every goat that is moved, whether it is a breeding buck, doe, or kids. Bucks moved into field performance tests need at least six months and sometimes longer, depending upon the time of year they are moved and the differences between their old location and their new one, to adapt to their new environment to develop antibodies that keep them healthy and able to compete on a reasonably equal basis. Bucks who have lived in the area in which the field performance test is being conducted have an enormous “home field advantage” because they have already adapted.

Do not move pregnant does — ever. Kids born at the new location will have no protection in their mothers’ milk from the new organisms because the dam will not have had time to develop immunities to them before her kids are born. In 2000, I moved only 125 miles from Buda, Texas to Lohn, Texas, and bred the does within 90 days of arrival. The results were disastrous. An abortion organism acquired at the new location infected many of the does. My first goat acquired in January 1990 and her first-born daughter born in February 1991 died, in addition to other dams and multiple kids. The forty-five (45) weak kids born had to be bottle fed to be saved. It was a tragic and expensive learning experience which could have been avoided had breeding been put off for six to 12 months while the goats’ immune systems adapted to the new location. Goats, like deer, stress easily when moved. Do not make it more difficult by putting demands upon their immune systems by insisting on immediate breeding.

Management is critical. Too many goats on too small acreage is a recipe for a parasite disaster. The number of goats that can be run on a given piece of land is determined primarily by how well the parasite load can be controlled and not by the amount of plant material available for the goats to eat. You have to figure out this number for your own herd, and you do it by starting with just a few goats and culling heavily. Understand that if your facilities are overcrowded, too wet, and/or unsanitary, no amount of culling is going to solve your problems, because you will be expecting goats to live in conditions where no goat can survive or thrive. In such situations, culling isn’t your problem; you are in the wrong business.

Do not succumb to advertising that a certain breed is resistant to or more tolerant of worms than any other breed. This has not been scientifically proven in the USA. All breeds can be made “wormy” through bad management, overcrowding, and environmental conditions favoring worms.

My thanks to Dr. Jim Miller, parasitologist at Louisiana State University, for his input and verifications for accuracy of the statements made in this article.
SUZANNE W. GASPAROTTO, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas, 4-16-12/2nd revision
Another good article on STOMACH WORMS:

Stomach worms are blood suckers. When a goat is carrying a heavy wormload, protein and blood cells are removed faster than the goat’s body can rebuild them. “Wormy” goats will eat continually and still lose weight. If the producer doesn’t take action, anemia and death will result. Worm infestation must be diagnosed and cured early on. It doesn’t take very long for a goat to become so anemic that saving its life is not possible.

All types of worms are year-around problems. Orally drenching with dewormers during winter will help kill hibernating larvae before they become active when kidding begins. Deworming kids at one month of age is critical; they are beginning to develop their own immune systems and are rapidly losing any protection previously given them by their mother.

Lice cause serious illness and even death in goats. There are two types of lice: blood-sucking and non-blood-sucking. A scruffy-coated goat that has been treated for worms and remains ragged looking probably is infested with lice. Rough hair coat and weigh loss are two indicators. Don’t try to determine the type of lice — just treat for them. Products like Synergized Delice are available across the counter inexpensively and are easily applied using squeeze bottles with small applicator tips. (Ladies: Ask your beautician to save permanent applicator bottles.) Use puppy-safe or kitten-safe flea powder on young kids under six months of age. Five-percent Sevin Dust or Diatomaceous Earth (DE) are two other options for use on young kids. Lice are easy to kill. Follow the dosage directions and apply the oily product along the topline (backbone) of the goat from base of neck to base of tail. (Topline application of delicer is acceptable because it works differently from dewormers, since lice are external parasites.) Lice should begin dying almost immediately.

I have used a louse dust from my local co-0p and just sprinkle it down their spine and had good results. If I didnt have a pour on, on hand, I made my own using Valbazen Drench and diluting it in water. Put it in a spray bottle and spray down spine, Wholah!!!!!  Look at the pics below of lice:

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This is good information from a well trusted friend I ask questions to all the time. She has her own herd and she has worked beside her vet for 30 plus years. She could be a vet, she just doesnt have that little piece of paper.
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Lungworms are a type of roundworm that can be found in the lungs and/or bronchial tissues of goats. Called protostrongylids, there are at least five types of lungworms, two kinds of which are commonly found throughout the United States in areas of heavy rainfall. Wet and undrained pastures are prime areas for lungworms.
The lungworm’s larvae gets inside the goat’s body when the animal eats an infected slug or snail. Some types of lungworms don’t need the snail or slug as a host; instead, they develop into the infective stage on plants that the goat ingests. Adult worms lay eggs in the goat’s lungs or bronchial tissue. The eggs hatch into larvae, which are then coughed up and swallowed and pass through the goat’s body and into its feces. They are white and thin in appearance and can be three inches in length. The lungworm’s life cycle ranges between five and ten weeks. It remains infective to the goat for at least one year.

Goats with lungworms may appear healthy. Severely-infected goats may cough and have trouble breathing. Pneumonia and bronchitis may develop, particularly in young kids. Blocked capillaries and fluid in the lungs can cause illness and death. Lungworms cause irritation to bronchial and lung tissues, resulting in large amounts of mucous that cause difficulty in breathing, repeated deep coughing, and loss of appetite. All lungworm infections cause scarring of bronchial and lung tissues, resulting in some amount of reduced lung capacity.

A mature goat’s immune system is usually able to combat a mild lungworm infestation. Kids are the hardest hit, since their immune systems are still developing. Sometimes coccidiosis is accompanied by persistent coughing and is mistaken for lungworm infection. Allergic reactions to dust and pollens are sometimes mis-diagnosed as lungworm infestation. Unless the producer raises goats in an area of heavy rainfall and/or standing water, lungworms are probably not the cause of coughing. Coughing can be caused by something as simple as the goat’s eating or drinking too fast.

Humans cannot become infected by lungworms and meat from infected goats is safe for human consumption.

There are two ways to diagnose lungworms: (1) Baerman fecal testing, which is a somewhat tricky fecal sedimentation procedure that is easy to perform incorrectly. Having a trained technician perform the Baerman is recommended. Oftentimes very few eggs are found, even by experienced operators. (2) Necropsy examination of the lungs and bronchial tissues after the goat has died. Both of these approaches have costs attached to them that the goat rancher may not want to expend. The producer who suspects lungworm infection is usually better off beginning immediate treatment as outlined below and dispense with testing.

The best treatment is preventative. Keep goats off wet, undrained pastures. Don’t allow them to graze early in the morning when snails and slugs are still out. Treat the goats with Ivomec 1% cattle injectable given orally before new pasture season arrives and again in early fall. Ivermectin has been found to be most effective against lungworms. Producers running donkeys with goats are advised to keep the donkeys dewormed; donkeys are known to be a common host for lungworms. And that old standby, pasture rotation, is essential in controlling the spread of lungworms.

Liver Flukes:

The large liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica which infects goats, sheep and cattle also require an intermediate host to develop through stages that have little resemblance to one another.

The adult fluke lives in the bile ducts of the liver, laying eggs which travel out of the host with the feces. The eggs hatch in water into the first-stage, cilia-covered miracidium which swims about looking for the right species of snail to play the role as intermediate host.

The miracidium actively attacks the surface of the snail injecting a sporocyst into its body. Each sporocyst produces 5 to 8 redia, the third larval stage, which live and feed on the snail’s tissue. Each redia produces many fourth-stage larvae called cercariae. This stage leaves the snail, uses a tail-like structure to swim around until it finds a plant stem where it attaches, loses its tail and secretes a protective coating. There the encysted cercaria waits to be eaten by a goat so that it can continue to its adult stage and begin the process again.

View an animation of the life cycle of Fasciola hepatica

Liver fluke life cycle

Life Cycle of the Liver Liver Fluke:

The eggs or larvae of parasites play a passive role in infection. They can’t do much else but wait for the right host to come along and ingest it or in the case of the liver fluke miracidium swim around with the hope that the right snail will cross its path. This is a hit-or-miss way of continuing the life process and in natural conditions the odds are against larvae surviving long enough to find the correct host.

The strategy that some adult parasites use to insure that their species will continue to exist is to produce huge numbers, in some cases hundreds of thousands, of eggs in their short lifetime. This represents probably the highest reproduction rate of all living animals.

Eggs and larvae are protected from the environment with thick shells or cuticles. Larvae of some parasites use intermediate hosts to gain acess to the definitive host, remaining safe from environmental pressures inside an arthropod or snail.

S. papillosus goes out of its way to make certain that its species survives either by living and pairing freely in the soil or parasitically in the gut of the goat without the need for males to produce fertile eggs.

While we may wish that all internal parasites would vanish to make our and the life of our goats’ easier, it does give us something to pause and think about. Considering the obstacles that parasites must overcome to reproduce themselves, in finding new hosts, surviving the harsh environment, then add to that our increasing arsenal of effective anti-parasiticides, it is amazing that they are able to survive and do as well as have.


Tapeworms often cause more worry among sheep and goat producers than stomach worms (nematodes), because producers can see the obviously expelled worms, whereas they cannot see stomach worms, only their symptoms.

Tapeworms are flat, ribbon-shaped worms that live inside the intestines of humans or animals that have a spine. They are long, segmented worms of the class Cestoda, which comprise one of three classes of parasitic worms. The other classes are Nematoda (roundworms) and Trematoda (flukes). Cestodes lack an intestinal tract, but are able to absorb nutrients through their skin.

Tapeworm segments in sheep fecesAdult tapeworms have hooks, spiny structures, or suckers on their head, which allow them to attach to the wall of the intestine. The rest of the tapeworm is made up of a chain of flat segments. The adult tapeworm consists of a head (scolex), where the worms attaches itself to the mucosa of the intestine; a neck; and a segmented body that contains both male gonads and female gonads (proglottids). Mature tapeworms shed segments, which are expelled with the feces. These segments are packed with eggs.

Cestodes (tapeworms) require an intermediate host to complete their life cycle. Different tapeworms require different intermediate hosts. All of the important species affecting sheep, goats, and cattle require pasture mites. These mites ingest the eggs while feeding and the larval stages of the worm develop inside the mites.

Oribatid mites live in the top layer of soil. Sometimes they can be found in plant material. These mites live in huge numbers. Hundreds of thousands can live in one square meter of soil. To see one well, you would need a microscope. Sheep and goats become infected when they ingest the mites containing tapeworm larvae. Once inside the animal, it takes 6 to 7 weeks for the larvae to develop into adult tapeworms.

Moniezia expansa is the tapeworm that commonly affects sheep and goats. Moniezia benedeni, more common in cattle, can also be found in sheep and goats. Sheep and goats serve as intermediate hosts for several other species of tapeworm.
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Tapeworm segments can be seen in the feces of sheep and goats. They have a white, grain-like appearance. Adult worms, often up to a meter or more in length, can be expelled and passed in the environment. Tapeworm eggs can be seen in sheep and goat feces, using the standard worm count procedure. Eggs are triangular in shape.


Definitive diagnosis in the live animal is difficult and sometimes a post-mortem is necessary to confirm an accurate diagnosis. Tapeworm infection is more typically diagnosed when the moving segments are seen crawling around the anus or in a bowel movement. While tapeworm eggs can be seen in fecal flotation under a microscope, fecal analyis does not offer a definitive diagnosis. The symptoms of extreme tapeworm infection are similar to the symptoms of other roundworm infection: diarrhea, emaciation, pot belly, and weight loss. In sufficient numbers, tapeworms can obstruct the bowel and cause death. Sheep seem to develop an immunity to tapeworms relatively early in life (3-4 months of age).

Treatment and control

Four drugs are typically used to treat tapeworm infections in animals: praziquantel, albendazole (Valbazen), oxyfendazole (Synathic), and fenbendazole (SafeGuard, Panacur). In the United States, praziquantel is marketed for dogs and cats under the tradenames Droncit and Drontal. Praziquantel is an ingredient in several horse dewormers: Zimecterin Gold Paste, Equimax’99 Paste, and Quest Plus Gel. Many anthelmintics marketed in other countries (for sheep and goats ) have a praziquantel component. There are no anthelmintics which contain praziquantel that are currently labeled for sheep and goats in the U.S.

Lamb passing a tapeworm.Praziquantel is effective against both the adult and immature stages of tapeworms whereas the benzimidazole anthelmintics only kill the head and segments. Albendazole is considered to be the most effective of the benzimidazole drugs. While it usually less effective than praziquantel, it is usually sufficient for controlling tapeworm infections. Fenbendazole is not labeled for the control of tapeworms (in goats), but will aid in their removal (heads and segments), if the dose is doubled. Oxfendazole is not label for use in either sheep or goats in the U.S.

There are several old remedies with purported activity against adult tapeworms. These include pumpkinseeds, powdered areca (fruits of betel palm, Areca catechu), kousso (flowers of an Abyssinian tree, Hagenia abyssinica), turpentine (oily mixture of exsudates from coniferous trees, especially longleaf pine), pomegranate root bark (tropical Asian and African tree, Punica granatum), and male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas). For a long time, lead arsenate (often mixed with phenothiazine) was used to control tapeworm infections in lambs. It’s safety margin is low; thus, it is no longer used.

Reviews of research show that tapeworms do not cause any ill effects on sheep or lambs despite their rather troublesome appearance. If sheep or lambs are looking poorly and tape segments are in the dung, you should probably look for causes other than tapeworms. The true cause of ill thrift is probably nutritional or other non-visible worms such as Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm.

Review of the scientific literature

The pathogenicity of tapeworms is continuously debated. Most scientists and small ruminant veterinarians believe tapeworms to be non-pathogenic, while some consider them to be a threat to young animals, especially up to the age of weaning. Some researchers note the difficulty in conducting trials with natural infections, which vary greatly in age and magnitude. Few studies with goats have been conducted and none could be found (by this author) on the Internet. As with other gastro-intestinal parasites, goats may be more susceptible to the effects of tapeworm infection than sheep.

In New Zealand
Tapeworms were revisited in the December 2007 issue of Turning the Worm. The author reviewed tapeworm research previously done in New Zealand. He writes, “Over the years, there have been many investigations in New Zealand, all but one of which have failed to show any relationship between tapeworms and production loss.” Treatments with niclosamide showed no benefits in terms of weight gain, fecal consistency or dagginess between treated and untreated lambs.

In the one study that showed a relationship, 93 naturally-infected lambs were slaughtered 10-12 days after treatment with praziquante or albendazolel. Praziquantel treatements were 99-100% effective at removing Moniezia while albendazole treatments were 19-75% effective at removing Moniezia when compared to untreated controls. In a productivity trial, 300 undrenched Romney lambs were assigned to one of three treatment groups: untreated (control), levamisole, and praziquantel + levamisole. The lambs were grazed together throughout the trial. The levamisole-treated lambs gained significantly more weight than the untreated controls, and the praziquantel + levamisole-treated lambs gained significantly more weight than the levamisole-treated lambs. The level of infestation of the trial lambs with Moniezia was not reported.

Boer kidThe effects of albendazole and praziquantel against tapeworms were compared in two productivity trials and a slaughter trial in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. The trials involved over 400 lambs on two farms. Fecal egg counts showed that more than 50% of the lambs were shedding tapeworm eggs, indicating a high rate of infection when the study was initiated. The control group of lambs received moxidectin only. A second group received levamisole + praziquantel, as well as moxidectin. The third group received albendazole + levamisole, as well as moxidectin. Moxidectin was given to eliminate possible differences between levamisole and albendazole in nematocidal activity.

At days 11 (farm A) and 7 (farm B), no tapeworm eggs were seen in the samples collected from the praziquantel-treated lambs, but were still present in lambs in the other two groups. At days 63 (farm A) and 59 (farm B), no tapeworm eggs were seen in any of the fecal samples. There was no significant difference in weight gain over the duration of the experiment (approx. 80 days) between the controls and either treatment group.

The slaughter trial included four groups of lambs: untreated controls, albendazole-treated, albendazole + levamisole, and levamisole + praziquantel. Lambs were slaughtered 12 days post-treatment and the small intestines were examined for tapeworms. All lambs in the control group had tapeworms. There was a 50-60% reduction in tapeworm head and segments in lambs treated with albendazole or praziquantel. Praziquantel was not fully effective, suggesting the possiblity of drug resistance.

A German studypar
In a recent study reported in the Wool & Wattles newsletter of the American Association of Small Ruminant Practioners, German researchers used two flocks of sheep and several breeds of sheep to determine the effect of treatment (with praziquantel) on tapeworms. The results showed no evidence of the pathogenicity of tapeworms in lambs. Nor did they demonstrate a beneficial effect of treatment.

Lambs were randomly assigned to a treatment (n=117) or control (n=117) group. Individual fecal flotations were performed (with zinc chloride and sodium chloride). The treated animals received a commercial 2.5% solution of praziquantel (at 3.75 mg/kg) orally, repeated every six weeks for up to four treatments. All lambs received moxidectin on the same schedule (at the labeled dosage) to remove the possible effects of nematodes on lamb health.

At the beginning of the trial in June-July, 28 to 45 percent of the lambs tested positive for tapeworms eggs. The percentage dropped off markedly in both the treated and untreated (control) lambs, such that only 0 to 7% of treated animals and 0 to 9% of untreated animals had detectable eggs at the last sampling before slaughter (up to 140 days after the beginning of the trial).

There were no significant differences in body weight between the two groups. In fact, the animals that remained infected with tapeworms were often heavier than the average of the uninfected lambs. Five of 45 of the treated lambs that were necropsied (up to 29 days after the final treatment) had juvenile tapeworms in their intestines, while 29 of the 67 control lambs contained juvenile tapeworms.

Other tapeworm infections

Sheep and goats also serve as the intermediate host for several other species of tapeworms. Echinoccus granulosus causes hydatid disease in livestock and humans. Taenia ovis causes “sheep measles” (ovine cysticercosis). Both have life cycles involving dogs as definitive hosts and sheep and goats as intermediate hosts.

The adult worms cause few symptoms in the dog, but the cystic stages can cause considerable damage to the intermediate host. Hydatid disease can be life threatening to humans and is the result of accidental ingestion of hydatid eggs from dogs. Though not considered a human health risk, cysts caused by T. ovis can get in the meat and organis and cause a carcasses to be condemned.

The best way to prevent these problems is to keep dogs (domestic and wild) from eating carrion or other raw meat. Scientists have developed an effective vaccine for sheep against. T. ovis and E. granulosus; however the vaccine is currently not available in the U.S.

Here is another nasty that causes quick death and is hard to detect in fecal samples since goats are a dead end host of it. Deer are the carriers and they can pass it on but goats cannot.

The Deer Meningenial Worm:

M-worm: A nightmare for goat, sheep, and camelid owners

Over the past dozen growing seasons on our farm in Illinois, I’ve come to truly appreciate the first few freezes in the fall because I know it means that problems with internal parasites in our animals will soon be winding down. A good freeze can dramatically reduce the number of viable larvae on the pasture, so problems like barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) become a non-problem until spring when the pastures thaw.

However, fall is the time when goat, sheep and camelid owners start to see problems with meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis). Unlike intestinal worms, which go to work in an animal’s stomach or intestines as soon as it is ingested by the animal, the meningeal worm takes awhile to reach its destination, which is the spinal cord or brain. Sometimes called deer worm or m-worm, its usual host is the white tail deer, and it doesn’t really bother the deer much. However, it wreaks havoc in aberrant hosts, such as goats, sheep, and camelids (llamas and alpacas), as well as wild animals, including other deer species and even elk, moose, caribou, and antelope. Because it can take a couple of months to reach the spinal column or brain, most cases of m-worm are seen in the fall or early winter, even though the animal actually ingested the larvae in the summer. Why are animals usually infected in summer?

Intermediary host

You may be familiar with tapeworms, which require an intermediate host to infect an animal. Tapeworms infect dogs via fleas. The goat species of tapeworm infects them through a pasture mite. The m-worm also needs an intermediate host, which is a snail or slug. The deer poops on the pasture, and the snail or slug crawls over the poop, which contains m-worm eggs, which are absorbed into the snail or slug and will remain in that little critter for the rest of its life. When the snail or slug is hanging out on a blade of grass or a leaf and is accidentally eaten by a goat or llama, the eater will then be infected by the worm. Some researchers also say that snails and slugs will shed eggs in their slime trail.

Aberrant hosts

If you’re familiar with the concept of rotational grazing with mixed species, you may be wondering why a deer worm is able to infect other species. Most parasites are species specific, which is why using different animals for grazing the same pasture usually “cleans up” the pasture. If a cow or pig eats larvae of a worm that infects goats, that larvae simply dies in the intestines of the cow or pig because it’s a foreign environment for the parasite. It would be like a human trying to live on Mars. We can’t do it. In most cases, the m-worm can’t survive in an aberrant host either. Goats and sheep tend to be highly resistant. Llamas and alpacas are less resistant, so m-worm infection is more common with them.


Our llama, Katy, could not lift her back end.

This fall we had the misfortune of having two goats and a llama infected with m-worm. All of them had different symptoms, which is not uncommon. A week before Thanksgiving we found a goat lying in the middle of a snowy pasture one morning. Other than being unable to stand (and having hypothermia initially) it didn’t appear that there was anything wrong with her. She had a great appetite and was her usual cheerful self. We assumed she had suffered some type of spinal cord injury because lameness was her only symptom. A week later, there was a llama that was down in the pasture, but she had no appetite and didn’t even want to drink. Once we lifted her to her feet, she was able to walk some, but she kept crossing her hind legs. Five days later, we found a second goat down. When we lifted her, she could stand as long as she was leaning against something. She completely ignored food and water and was twisting her head to her right side. When she tried to take a few steps, she would move in a circle before falling down, which is a classic symptom of listeriosis. We initially thought she was blind because she had a blank stare, but her eyes did respond to us flicking our fingers at them. The eyeballs also quivered from side to side, which is called nystagmus.


M-worm is usually diagnosed based upon symptoms, although they can be very similar to other diseases and conditions, such as listeriosis and a spinal cord injury, as already mentioned. Other conditions that have similar symptoms are thiamine deficiency, goat polio, copper deficiency, foot rot, scrapie, and rabies. A spinal tap can sometimes help with diagnosis. Spinal fluid is normally crystal clear, so if you can’t read through a vial of the spinal fluid, it means something is wrong. If an analysis of the fluid reveals the presence of eosinophils, m-worm is likely the culprit. A definitive diagnosis can be made on necropsy.

Prognosis and treatment

Windy kept her body twisted to her right side and
held her head crooked for a couple weeks following treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment provides the best hope for survival of an infected animal. Because the worm is damaging the host’s spinal column and brain, the longer it lives, the more damage it does. Even one m-worm can eventually kill an animal simply because of where it is located, unlike intestinal worms, which may number in the millions. Intestinal worms either consume the food in the animal’s digestive system or they attach themselves to the lining of the animal’s stomach and drink its blood, so if you can simply kill the worms, the animal can usually recover. Repairing spinal cord damage or brain damage, however, is much more challenging and sometimes impossible. Recovery rates can be as low as 10-20%, especially when treatment is started too late or when an animal is already down.

Treatment consists of giving both fenbendazole and ivermectin for five days to kill the worms. In addition to giving the dewormers at unusually high doses, the animal must also be treated for inflammation that will occur when the worms start to die. A long list of side effects and reactions, such as seizures, can occur during treatment, which is why it would be challenging to treat at home. Once they began treating our llama, she needed additional treatment to deal with high blood sugar and ketones in her urine. Her paralysis actually got worse, and she was unable to urinate or defecate on her own for more than a week, so the vet put in a urinary catheter, and feces had to be manually removed.

If an animal is paralyzed, it is important to have them on deeply bedded straw and change their position regularly to avoid urine scald and skin damage from pressure. It is better to have them propped up on their belly with legs tucked underneath rather than laying on their side with legs straight out.


A vaccine for meningeal worm does not currently exist. Because m-worm is so difficult to treat, prevention is important. Remember it takes both the deer and snails or slugs to complete the worm’s life cycle and infect a goat, sheep, or camelid. People had asked me in the past if I was worried about m-worm infecting my goats that grazed around our pond. However, in almost twelve years, we’ve never had a problem. Why? It could be because chickens, geese, turkeys, and ducks forage around our pond, so snails and slugs probably don’t have a chance to become abundant. However, because our pond is quite literally in our backyard, deer stay away. Livestock guardian dogs may also help keep deer away. I know our dogs go nuts barking long before I even notice deer far off in the distance.

Some llama and alpaca breeders give a dewormer (either fenbendazole or ivermectin) monthly during the summer when snails and slugs are more prevalent, but this is a losing proposition with goats and sheep. Giving a dewormer every month will results in the barber pole worm becoming resistant to those dewormers, and they are a much greater risk to small ruminant health than m-worm. Thousands of goats and sheep now die every year from intestinal worms because of dewormer resistance.

It is unusual to hear about a herd that has more than one animal infected with m-worm. So, how did we wind up with three? The two goats that were infected were full sisters, leading me to believe that just as with other worms, there is a genetic predisposition to worm resistance. Other goats that were in that area did not get infected, including old goats that were retired and theoretically should have had lower resistance. The animals that were infected had all spent a lot of time in a wooded area frequented by deer and usually avoided by humans and dogs.

My first reaction was that we would never put goats back there again. But after thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I’ve decided that we will put bucks in that area. Because most goats are resistant to m-worm, it only makes sense to use bucks that are resistant so that they will hopefully pass on those genetics to their kids.

If you live in an area that has an abundance of deer that get into your pasture, you may want to consider deer-proof fencing, which is either 8-foot tall fencing, or a double fence, which is perimeter fence that is a few feet away from the other fence. Because deer need a running start to jump a fence, they can’t jump into your pasture if they first jump another fence that simply lands them in a small lane of fencing. The only way they can get out of that lane is to run to the end and jump out and away from your pasture.

Because goats, sheep, and camelids are a dead-end host for the m-worm, you don’t have to worry about them giving it to other animals in your herd or flock. The worm does not reproduce in these animals, and because it is not living in the digestive tract, it would not be leaving eggs in the feces, even if it did try to reproduce.

Unlike intestinal worms that are destroyed by freezing, larvae from meningeal worms don’t seem to be bothered by cold temperatures. In one experiment, larvae survived on lettuce leaves at -4 degrees Fahrenheit for seven days! That’s when the experiment ended, but since most of us don’t live somewhere that stays that cold for a week, it would have been pointless to continue. The simple fact is that we can’t count on winter to destroy the m-worm larvae that is on the pasture.

Here is another by a trusted website with treatment information:

This one will probably shock you since its normally found in humans, it is the Giardia Worm. It has now been found in some livestock. You may have to do some more research on this one seeings thought I couldnt find a whole lot on it.

Epidemiology & Risk Factors

giardia trophozoites

Giardia trophozoites. Credit: Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, CDC

Giardia cyst in wet mount.

Wet mount of a Giardia cyst. Credit: Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, CDC

General Epidemiology

Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). A parasite is an organism that feeds off of another to survive.

Giardiasis is a global disease. It infects nearly 2% of adults and 6% to 8% of children in developed countries worldwide. Nearly 33% of people in developing countries have had giardiasis. In the United States, Giardia infection is the most common intestinal parasitic disease affecting humans[1].

People become infected with Giardia by swallowing Giardia cysts (hard shells containing Giardia) found in contaminated food or water. Cysts are instantly infectious once they leave the host through feces (poop)[2]. An infected person might shed 1-10 billion cysts daily in their feces (poop) and this might last for several months[2,6,7]. However, swallowing as few as 10 cysts might cause someone to become ill[2,6]. Giardia may be passed person-to-person or even animal-to-person[2,3]. Also, oral-anal contact during sex has been known to cause infection[4,5]. Symptoms of giardiasis normally begin 1 to 3 weeks after a person has been infected[6].

Giardia infection rates have been known to go up in late summer[8-10]. Between 2006-2008 in the United States, known cases of giardiasis were twice as high between June-October as they were between January-March[2].

Anyone may become infected with Giardia. However, those at greatest risk are[2,11-16]:

  • Travelers to countries where giardiasis is common
  • People in child care settings
  • Those who are in close contact with someone who has the disease
  • People who swallow contaminated drinking water
  • Backpackers or campers who drink untreated water from lakes or rivers
  • People who have contact with animals who have the disease
  • Men who have sex with men

The risk of humans acquiring Giardia infection from dogs or cats is small[17-19,13]. The exact type of Giardia that infects humans is usually not the same type that infects dogs and cats[17,18,13].

Learn more about Giardia and pets.

Molecular Characterization

Giardia intestinalis (aka: G. duodenalis, G. lamblia) can be subdivided based on molecular analysis into what are known as different genetic assemblages (A,B,C,D,E,F, and G). Some of these assemblages can be classified even further into subtypes like for example A-I, A-II, A-III, A-IV. Each assemblage is capable of infecting certain species, and some assemblages are more commonly seen than others[18,20,21].

Molecular Characterization
Assemblages Some Species Commonly Infected
A-I Humans and animals (cats, dogs, livestock, deer, muskrats, beavers, voles, guinea pigs, ferrets)
A-II Humans (more common than A-I)
A-III and A-IV Exclusively animals
B Humans and animals (livestock, chinchillas, beavers, marmosets, rodents)
C and D Dogs, coyotes
E Alpacas, cattle, goats, pigs, sheep
F Cats


Goat producers who live in areas where whitetail deer are abundant should be concerned about Meningeal Deerworm infection in their goats. Rainfall, swampy ground, and leaf litter compound the problems but the presence of white-tail deer are the key.

Sometimes called deerworm or brainworm, the parasite Parelaphostrongulus tenuis uses the whitetail deer as its host and passes through the deer’s body without harming it. But with goats, the deerworm seems to “get lost” and winds up in the spinal canal . . . causing hind leg weakness and unsteadiness, progressing to hind leg dragging, inability to walk in a straight line, rear end wobbling from side to side, tremors, inability to stand, and paralysis. Once the larvae migrate over the body, the goat oftentimes but not always experiences intense itching and may begin chewing holes in its hide. There may be multiple small patches or one large patch of leathery skin, often behind the front leg of the body and moving up to the neck area. Shaving the hair off the sites where itching and chewing are occurring will usually reveal a straight line of hard nodules leading from the spine over which the skin has thickened. These are the subcutaneous larvae migrating throughout the goat’s body. If the producer diagnoses the problem before paralysis occurs, full recovery is possible.

Goats who develop Meningeal Deerworm infection get it by ingesting the intermediate host, a slug or snail, while browsing in wet areas, such as ponds or swamps, or under dead leaves, branches, and trees. Warm weather in early winter and the resulting lack of snow cover has made this disease common in the eastern part of the United States. Goat producers who raise alpacas, llamas, or related ruminants may find that these camelids are even more susceptible to Meningeal Deerworm disease than goats or sheep.

The producer should suspect Meningeal Deerworm disease if the goat displays neurologic signs or any problem involving the spinal cord, from leg dragging to inability to get up. The disease can be a slow progression of symptoms or can strike suddenly. Pneumonia is a common secondary problem, since the goat is down and therefore inactive. The infected goat does not seem to be in pain, other than the itching; most goats eat and drink until death occurs.

Treatment involves very high dosages of Ivomec Plus or generic equivalent. Ivermectin paste or pour-on are not effective. Ivomec Plus or generic equivalent is recommended because if snails or slugs are present, so may also be liver flukes, and Ivomec Plus will handle both conditions at the same time. Ivomec Plus should be given at a rate of 1 cc per 25 pounds bodyweight for at least seven days, followed by a double-the-cattle dosage of fenbendazole (Safeguard/ Panacur) for five days. (Jeffers carries both dewormers.) Dosing too low means that the deerworm continues to do damage. Enough medication needs to remain in the goat’s system so that the blood-brain barrier can be crossed in order to kill the larvae that have already penetrated the spinal column. If the goat is down and can’t get up on its own, the chance for recovery is not good. An anti-inflammatory drug like Banamine can be useful in alleviating the inflammation of nerve tissue. Dexamethosone should also be used if paralysis is present, dosing at approximately 8 cc per 100 lbs bodyweight and stepping down one cc per day. Dex should be given into the muscle (IM). If the sick goat is a pregnant doe, use the dexamethasone and let her abort, because she isn’t likely to survive if she is trying to grow fetuses while fighting this disease. If the producer is concerned about using Dexamethasone and Banamine at the same time, then use the Dex and forget the Banamine. When symptoms are found in one goat, the producer should either treat the entire herd or watch everyone closely daily for symptoms and begin treatment immediately if discovered.

This treatment, if utilized early in the disease, can stop its progression but cannot undo any nerve damage. Permanent spinal damage (including curvature), weakness in the hindquarters, and/or inability to deliver kids may be the residual effect of Meningeal Deerworm infection. Once the spinal cord is damaged, treatment can only do so much and the goat will never be back to full health. Producers should let at least one month pass before becoming convinced that the animal has been successfully treated.

In the northern and eastern parts of the United States, most infections occur in late summer/early fall or early winter, following a wet summer and mild fall. The larval migration of P. tenuis can take from ten days to over three months. If weather conditions produce wet ground, leaf litter or other slug habitat, and temperatures above 55*F, then meningeal deerworm is likely to appear six weeks after the first warm day and exist for the same number of days that the warm temperatures lasted. Said another way, if two weeks of warm weather occurs in November, watch for the appearance of meningeal deerworm in January. During these timeframes, some producers are using Ivomec Plus or its generic equivalent monthly for up to four months during the at-risk seasons.

Although laboratory testing of the cerebrospinal fluid produces an accurate diagnosis, the key to treatment of Meningeal Worm infection is early aggressive treatment. If all indications tell the producer that the goat is infected with P. tenuis, forget the testing and get on with treatment.

Prevention is difficult. The only proven preventative medication is administering Ivomec Plus or its generic equivalent monthly during slug and snail season. Because slugs and snails travel, ponds, swamps, and leafy wooded areas should be fenced off at least 200 yards from the areas to avoid so goats cannot become exposed to slugs and snails. Test for existence of slugs and snails by putting dry dog food in a small plastic cup, place it on the ground, and cover it with a bucket or box. Check the bucket or box at sunrise and sundown. If you find slugs, you have a potential Meningeal Deerworm problem in play.

Treatment can be unsuccessful, even when the disease is caught in its early stages. Prevention is the key to avoiding this devastating disease. This writer thanks Ray Kruse of Little Brush Creek Farm in Buffalo, Kentucky for his input based upon his experience with this disease.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto 12/8/09
Lohn, Texas 76852

Ring Worms In Goats:

Ringworm on goats is one of the most common types of fungal disease transmitted by an animal. Goats usually get this type of disease during the wet season or long moist periods where the animal’s shelter is not kept clean and dry. Like humans, ringworm can appear on any part of the goats’ body and it is highly contagious to both animals and humans. Therefore, it is very important to clean your pet’s shelter in order to avoid ringworms within the area. Some ringworm appears on goat’s skin and do not interfere with the goat’s daily life. However, the treatment may take up to a month to finish for this type of diseases needs a proper medication and attention. Therefore, immediate action is required once ringworm is detected on your goats to prevent it from being transmitted to humans and other pet and farm animals. Moreover, you need to make sure that you separate these goats from your other pets to avoid wide spread of ringworms.

Goats with ringworm usually have less hair on the affected part. Ringworm usually appears to be a small reddish and flaky patch that is itchy. If left untreated, it may increase in size gradually. In addition, it may cause massive hair loss and skin inflammation.

The goat’s ringworm, just like any other type of ringworm is highly contagious until such time that it is treated. Once the patch disappears and only a reddish circle remains, then that is the only time that the ringworm is unlikely to infect others, both human and animal.

Treating the said disease will involve proper hygiene on the human’s part. The person needs to use gloves in order to avoid this type of disease. Putting on antibacterial and/or antifungal solutions on the goat’s infected area will help decrease the spread. An example of this is Betadine Surgical Scrub. The goat’s skin should be washed and cleaned thoroughly before the application of the said solution. An antifungal cream is spread across the ringworm as treatment but make sure that the infected area is dry before application. The monitoring timeframe is two weeks or longer, just like in humans.

Another good article on Ringworms:

Ringworm is a fungal infection that inhabits the dead cells that form on the surface of the skin. Ringworm can affect all domestic animals, and humans, and pathogenic fungi that cause the disease are found worldwide. Although “The Merck Veterinary Manual” asserts that ringworm is less common in goats than other domesticated species, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service cites increasing incidence of ringworm, especially in show goats that may share facilities with other animals where the infection can easily spread.

According to “The Merck Veterinary Manual,” most ringworm infections in goats go away on their own, so treatment focuses on preventing the spread of infection on the individual goat and to other animals. Captan is typically applied to crops to treat the outbreak of fungal infections, but “The Merck Veterinary Manual” recommends it for treating ringworm in goats as well. Wash the goat daily with one part Captan per 300 parts water and continue this treatment for five days, then continue the treatment weekly until symptoms disappear. Using Merck’s recommended dosage, the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service formulates 3 tsp. Captan per gallon of water. The goat’s equipment and housing should also be washed to prevent reinfection.

What Are the Treatments for Ringworm on Goats? thumbnail

Ringworm especially affects goats that are frequently exposed to other livestock.

Chlorine Bleach
    • Chlorine bleach can be used in a similar management to control ringworm in goats. “The Merck Veterinary Manual” prescribes a dosage of one part bleach to 10 parts water, which is used to wash or spray the goat, its equipment and its housing. As with Captan, the manual recommends daily washing for five days, then weekly applications until lesions disappear.


    • Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical fungicide to treat ringworm in your goat. “The Merck Veterinary Manual” recommends thiabendazole in dimethyl sulfoxide. She will prescribe a diluted solution of this fungicide, which you will use to soak the ringworm lesions on your goat’s skin. Like Captan, thiabendazole has other agricultural uses for treating fungal diseases in food crops, as well as other parasitic diseases in livestock.


    • Meat goat breeders at the Onion Creek Ranch recommend treating ringworm by cleaning the affected area carefully with betadine surgical scrub or another topical disinfectant. After washing the area carefully, dry it thoroughly and apply 1 percent clotrimazole cream, an over-the-counter medication often used for treating ringworm and related infections. The ranch reminds goat owners to always wear disposable gloves when treating animals infected with ringworm because the infection is easily passed to humans. Treatment takes up to one month to work.

I hope all this information has enlightened you in some way. Like I said, all these articles have different opinions and research. You be the judge of what you should do with all this now education and make your own Paraasite Management Program work for you.

I tried to break it up as much as possible so it was easy on the eyes, and use different colors to help. Sorry its not as dressy as my other pages.

I hope I have not bored you and you fell asleep. lol

Here are some more links and buttons to find out more info for your own research:
Dairy Goat Journal - Information, ideas, and insights for everyone who raises, manages, or just loves goats.



There are several more links on my homepage on the left hand side under links.

2 Responses to Goat Parasites and Management

  1. Thanks for another excellent article. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such information.


  2. Remarkable, entirely wonderful. Therefore i’m just getting yourself into creating articles myself personally, nothing remotely near to your own personal composing likely (ha! ) although I””d enjoy so that you can consider our things someday!


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