Over the years we have developed a more and more hands off approach to parasite control. Instead of routinely deworming with any type of product, we focus on prevention through clean pens, not browsing on wet pastures, and nutrition. Initially I did frequent fecal float testing (we still do our own as needed) to verify if our program seemed to be working. I also believe in observing animals for coat condition, signs of anemia, and thriftiness. When goats go to new homes or are otherwise stressed then parasite problems are more likely.
Coccidiosis, an intestinal inflammatory condition caused by coccidia (please don’t call them cocci, the vets hate that) is usually not a problem for adults. But at weaning time (or other stressful events), kids are especially prone to coccidiosis and can die without any symptoms such as diarrhea. Being vigilant at these times is critical. Preventatives might be needed for some situations. If you decide to use preventative medications, be aware that coccdia (a protozoa, not a worm) are becoming resistant to many of the traditional medications.
We seem to have a case of kid’s with lice every spring. These are easy to treat with a thorough dusting of diatomaceous earth that is repeated again after a week or two. Be sure to protect your’s and the kid’s eyes and respiratory tract from breathing in the tiny, jagged particles.
In the last 11 years we have never given the CDT vaccination to any goats in our herd. Since goats do not maintain effective levels of clostridium antibodies for more than a month or two, I do not see the efficacy in annual inoculations for this disease. While we could lose a goat to clostridium at any time, we haven’t yet. I would happily vaccinate them for diseases that I have a greater concern for, should such vaccines ever become available. I do administer tetanus antitoxin when disbudding and tattooing or if in injury occurs.
I advise every dairy person to check each milking animal’s somatic cell count one time a month. Small changes in udder health can be detected and holistic, non-antibiotic therapies used early on that can almost always prevent not only an acute case of mastitis, but also the use of antibiotics. There are so called “super bugs” that are resistant to herbal and antibiotic measures and can either kill the animal or she can lose her udder. The horror of a gangrenous udder and its subsequent sloughing is a tragedy that you will never forget. The importance of NEVER underdosing any antibiotic cannot be stressed enough – in the prevention of further antibiotic resistance.
Holistic treatments that can work great include peppermint oil udder massage, garlic tea (see my blog post on this topic at http://gianacliscaldwell.wordpress.com/ ) and administering some of the animal’s own milk to her orally. One of the best approaches, but not easy to do for a larger producer, is to milk the animal every few hours or more (or place nursing kids on her) to virtually starve the bacteria.