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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16268
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I have two Alpine Nigerians does, 11 months old. The dark

Customer Question

I have two Alpine Nigerians does, 11 months old. The dark one, Rose, is healthy, gaining weight and filling out. The light one, Lily, is getting increasingly thinner. They are both eating, and Lily seams constantly starved. They are on alfalfa pellets, alfalfa hay, and fortified oats. They get a ton of local graze. We live by a creak and walk them regularly. I am worried that Lily is going to waste away, and I don't understand why she would be so thin. If it is a worm issue, won't both be affected? I looked at the lower inside of their eye lids and they don;t seem as pinky-red and I hear they should be, so maybe worms. I made a float and did a fecal test with my high powered microscope and didn't see any eggs. BUT I did scrape the inside of the ears and though I saw what looked like worms. Maybe I wrong. I don't know why they would be in ears. I can send pictures of what I though was worms from ears. Obviously I have no clue though. I also am not confident in what worming medicine I would buy and what dose. Most of what I find is for horses. The poop looks totally normal, no diarrhea. Any help or advice?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

When were they last wormed? What did you use?

You noted that her mucus membranes are pink-red, but can you tell me if Lily's gums or eye lids as pink as Rose's?

Have they had any head shaking or ear irritation?

Can you post a photo of what you saw? To post them, you can either use the paper clip on the tool bar. Or if you cannot see that on your phone/computer, then you can post them on any site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web address here for me to have a peek.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Dr. B! I have had them in October and have never wormed them. I though that worms were something they get from other goats, but I realize now they come from the ground. Yes, they have had head shaking. I was caring for them one day and looked into their ears and noticed a tiny pin head sized white spot in Lilys ear. She had two spots in one ear an one in the other. Rose also had a few of these tiny white spots. I swabbed them with a tip and prepped the slide with those spots. It looks to me like there maybe 2-3 different types of worms here, if thats possible, and if they could present through the ears. Both goats don't have as bright of gums and eyelids as I think they should be. So I would think we are dealing with worms, but I need them identified I suppose. I would need to know what type of medicine to get, and how to administer it. I have had these girls for 6 months, and got them when they were 5 months old. I believe they were homeopathically wormed before I got them by Mollys Herbal Wormer. Thank you in advance for any of the help you can offer! In the pictures I though I saw a pinkish worm that was different from the other smaller nasty looking worms. I am not sure if I caught some images of worm eggs, I though not because they were much bigger than the worms. Then I saw these masses of matter with what could be a straight sort of worm in them. I could be making it up too though. LMK what you think!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Thank you,

First, In situations like this, we do need to take a step by step approach. When we have a goat that is losing weight, we need to consider her inputs, outputs and internal based issues. Now your history was very good because it did let me rule a number of things out right off the bat. If she has a good appetite, then input issues and those health concerns that can compromise them are ruled out. As well, if she has normal stool, then protein losing enteropathies are also less likely. That said, we cannot totally exclude outputs at this stage since protein loss via urine would still be a potential differential for Lily.

That said, we can focus on internal issues. This is where our parasites, metabolic diseases, organ dysfunction, and tumors arise. Of course, with her being so young, a tumor is less likely here. As well we’d hope metabolic and organ issues are as well. Furthermore, as I can see you appreciate, worms and liver fluke are two of the most common internal weight loss inducing issue that would cause paling of the mucus membranes (anemia) and affect a goat with a normal appetite. And as you rightly noted, its pasture contamination that leads to worms and not necessarily direct contact with other goats. As well, it is quite possible to see one lass affected since she may have eaten more parasitic eggs then the other, have a generally higher worm burden, or could be suffering with a more severe infestation of juvenile liver fluke such that they are causing more damage to her liver then Rose is experiencing (though if her gums are pale, she could develop signs too if we don’t intervene). In fact, we often see the few less robust animals in a herd show signs in parasitic situations before the others do.

Now the photo you included isn’t decipherable. The matter on the slide is too thick and those round circles are bubbles caught under it. I can see debris but its not clear for a fecal egg identification or count. Therefore, it’d be ideal to pool a sample from them both (to keep costs down) and submit this to your local vet. Any vet should be able to send this to the local vet lab (and farm vets can analyze it for you themselves). That way we will know what is there and how high a burden they have. This is very good for getting a baseline and to know what to treat for. After worming on the basis of this, you can re-test to make sure the parasites were sensitive to the wormer used and that the lasses are clear.

Otherwise, you can choose to use a broad spectrum wormer to start +/- test a stool sample to make sure they are clear afterwards. This may prevent us from knowing what they had (since the stool sample will be clear if the wormer was effective) but can be a way to ensure we have cleared out the culprit. You could also have a urine sample tested at the same time to make sure there are no signs of protein loss via that.

With this all in mind and considering the parasites you saw on the ears (which are more likely to be mites or lice as opposed to traditional worms), we’d want to use a broad spectrum anti-parasitic treatment. To tackle all of them, we’d lean to using Ivomec Plus. This should be available at your local farm supply or through your local vet. The reason we’d use this one is because it will cover our GI worms, liver fluke, and help against mites and lice. Treatment-wise, it is a subcutaneous injection (so just under the skin, usually given in the back leg) at a dose of 1ml per 40lbs of their weight. And that should help us clear our all our parasitic concerns and hopefully allow us to start getting some weight back on Lily. Of course, if her signs linger after this, we’d again want to submit a stool sample but may need to have her local vet examine her +/- check bloods to ensure none of those less common concerns are causing her bother.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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