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Worming : Worms by Sue Reith

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Information copied here with permission of Sue Reith Thanks once again Sue.

(A 'Heads up' for owners that have kids dropping with anemia, severe weakness, dying shortly thereafter...)
by Sue Reith.

An anemic appearance indicates severe blood loss, and while a shot of iron might help improve the red cell level for a short period, the reason for the blood loss must be addressed immediately to save the goat's life, if it isn't already too late...

In my experience, this sudden appearance of anemia and weakness with either normal, or subnormal, temp (and sometimes swelling under the jaw as well) is classic when a goat's system is severely parasitized by Liver fluke. It commonly shows up in young ruminants exposed to pastures containing wet areas, and it's not unusual for kids and lambs affected with it to die so fast they hardly have time to be sick.¹

Once Liver fluke gets a foothold, especially in a young animal like this, it quickly does severe damage to the victim's liver, resulting in the signs you noted...This is especially true if there are any clostridial (Entero) organisms present in the body, since they multiply and secrete their toxins fast in the already damaged and poorly oxygenated liver tissue.¹ While Liver fluke is found in most of the US, it's especially common in the Southern states due to the lack of good frosts to wipe out eggs and larvae in winter. We see it often up here in the Northern states as well, but because we have colder winters, the numbers, fortunately, are somewhat lower.

Today, by far the most difficult problem that we as owners face with Liver fluke treatment/control is that the veterinary community in general isn't even aware that it's there. As a result, they're unable to recommend proper treatment for it. This is because the egg of the Liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica)² looks so similar to that of the Barberpole worm (Haemonchus contortus)² that when it shows up on the slide in the Vet's office it's routinely misidentified to BE that of the Haemonchus contortus (or perhaps by some general term like strongyles, stomach worms, et al).

Until just a few years ago the veterinarian, seeing what was thought to be Haemonchus contortus eggs on the slide, would recommend Ivomec to the owner as the wormer of choice to eradicate it. And rightly so, because the moment it appeared on the scene back in the early 1980's, Ivomec was recognized as the most effective general wormer to show up ever! And frankly it remains, in my view, still the best and most efficacious general wormer on the market today.

And largely because Haemonchus contortus has always responded very well to Ivomec, veterinarians, misidentifying Liver fluke eggs as those of Haemonchus contortus, quite logically continued recommending Ivomec for treatment. When the Liver fluke failed to respond to the Ivomec treatment, unfortunately the loss of the animal in question was assumed to be a sign of the Haemonchus contortus having developed 'resistance' to the Ivomec. This notion has now become so pervasive that the veterinary community in general believes these days that the worms affecting livestock have developed a resistance to Ivomec, the result being a recommendation to their clients that they (1) increase the doses, and (2) turn to other wormers. Neither approach has even slowed down the deaths being caused, in fact, by Liver fluke. Since neither of those suggestions are working, the most recent approach has been to set up Famacha classes to instruct owners and veterinarians alike in how to check the eyelids of the downed animals to see if they're anemic. If the animals have pale eyelids, indicating they're anemic, owners are sometimes advised to destroy the victim, fearing that if it lives, the 'resistance to wormers' will spread even further.

Sadly, neither Ivomec nor Panacur nor any of the other general wormers on the market today are effective against Liver fluke. The fact is, this parasite can ONLY be eradicated efficiently by using a product called Ivomec Plus. It's not the Ivomec itself, but the PLUS part of the combined wormer, clorsulon, that effectively wipes out Liver fluke. And (very critically) since it only kills the ADULT of the species, clorsulon has to be used at regular doses, 3 X in a row, 10 days apart, to kill it off completely.¹

So in my view, these days (particularly if the reader is having a hard time controlling internal parasites in his/her animals) Ivomec Plus (instead of plain Ivomec) should ALWAYS be used for general worming, 'just in case'! Just like regular Ivomec, it can be given orally although it's actually an injectable. But since right now Ivomec itself is less readily being used by people (most of whom have never even heard of Liver fluke, and many of whom have their vets ID their goats' fecal samples as well) Ivomec Plus probably won't be available in your local feed store... It stands to reason that feed store customers, unaware of the potential discrepancy in parasite ID, if they ask for Ivomec at all (instead of Panacur, et al) will only ask for the regular Ivomec, so that's what the feed stores are going to stock. Unfortunately the result is a continuing loss of animals from what we're being told is "resistance". However, Ivomec Plus is readily available in livestock catalogs and online at about the same price as Ivomec.

Having said all of the above, if this young boer goat mentioned above were mine I'd give him a shot of Ivomec Plus, ASAP. And, if he doesn't die anyway due to the severity of his condition as you describe it, I'd repeat that same shot again two more times, with 10 days between each shot. BTW, the B-12 (cyanocobalamin) he got is basically used as an appetite stimulant. But at this very critical time, as adjunct (supportive) therapy, in addition to the B-12 he got I'd strongly suggest the use of 'fortified' B-complex (a combination of B vitamins needed for proper body function that doesn't contain B-12), along with replacement fluids, to support his body's internal chemical balance while he's down... (This combination is also found in Nutradrench, a good thing to have on hand in your cupboard at times like this! It's designed to keep the 'down' goat alive while the owner figures out how to fix it...) And in addition to the above, my own approach would be to give the victim BoSe (to support his stressed immune system), Banamine (to cut the infammation and reduce the pain caused by the worm damage), and C&D antitoxin (to prevent entero from taking this opportunity to sneak in and finish the poor victim off).


¹ Georgi's Parasitology for Veterinarians, Dwight Bowman, 7th Ed. P116.
² Veterinary Clinical Parasitology, Sloss & Kemp, 5th Ed. P.41, Fasciola hepatica eggs; P.46, Haemonchus contortus eggs

(While I urge you to share this information with other individual goat owners, please do not reproduce the article for publication without my specific permission. Thank you. Sue Reith.)

Sue Reith
Carmelita Toggs
Bainbridge Island WA
[email protected]
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