What is the best wormer for goats? What is the most effective goat wormer? How to treat worms in goats.
Looking for the best wormer for goats? You’re in the right spot!
Goats are hardy, tough animals. They’re rarely sick and usually don’t need much from us to be pretty healthy.
With that being said, goats can struggle with internal parasites. One of the most notable that affects goats is the barberpole worm, or Haemonchus contortus. Goats can be affected by hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, liver flukes and other worms as well.
The most common type of worm that affects goats is the barberpole worm. Heavy infestations of barberpole worms can lead to anemia and even death in goats. This is why it’s critical to frequently check your goats for anemia by FAMACHA scoring them.
Don’t worm your goats unless you know that they need deworming. Over-worming goats can lead to the creation of internal parasites that are resistant to medications. Only treat your goats for worms when they need it.
In this post, I’m going to list the best goat wormer medications that you can give your goats. I’ll also let you know how to use the medications properly and safely. I’m not a veterinarian, just a very experienced goat owner. If you’re ever in doubt, contact your local vet.
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Most effective goat wormers that I recommend
1. SafeGuard (fenbendazole)
2. Ivomec Sheep Drench (ivermectin)
3. Prohibit (levamisole)
4. Cydectin Sheep Drench (moxidectin)
5. Rumatel (morantel) Feed Pre-mix
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Goat wormer medicine recommendations:
1. SafeGuard wormer for goats
Safeguard goat dewormer is one of the most trusted wormers out there for goats. Safeguard was developed for goats. This may sound obvious, but not many medications were developed with goats in mind.
In fact, many medications that veterinarians recommend to treat goats are considered ‘off-label use’. That means that the medication was originally developed for another species (usually cattle or sheep) and is generally considered safe for goats to use.
So the fact that it was developed with goats in mind is unique.
Safeguard is a liquid medication, so you’ll either have to give it to them with a drench gun or syringes. You can pour it over their feed, but some goats can be picky and may pick around the medicated feed.
The recommended dosage rate of Safeguard for goats is:
- 10mg/kg of body weight OR
- 1.1ml/25 pounds of body weight.
If you read the label, Safeguard recommends a 5mg/kg dosage. If you walk into any veterinarian’s office that treats goats, they’ll tell you that the label dosage isn’t enough and that you should double it to 10mg/kg of body weight.
Safeguard hasn’t been studied enough to determine whether it produces residues that show up in milk, so avoid using in lactating animals that you are using for milk.
2. Ivomec Sheep Drench wormer for goats
Ivomec Sheep Drench is a sound choice for worming goats.
Remember when I said that most products that are used for goats aren’t labeled for goat use? This is a prime example. Ivomec wormer medication was developed for sheep, which are similar to goats.
This is a frequently prescribed medication that is used off-label for goats.
Now, just because this says ‘drench’ don’t think that you pour this over your animal. I know the term ‘drench dewormer’ is a little misleading. I’ve actually had someone ask me before why they were having an issue with worms in their goats.
When I asked them what type of wormer they were using and how much/often, they told me that they were using a drench wormer. It turns out that they were actually pouring the medication over their goats.
To be fair, there are medications for livestock that you do pour over the animal to help with parasites, but these are usually labeled as ‘pour-on’ medications.
This is also a liquid medication that needs to be given orally. You’ll need a syringe or a drench gun to give it.
Ivomec has some effectiveness against biting insects. External parasites like nose bots can be eliminated with Ivomec.
The dosage for using Ivomec sheep drench to worm goats is:
- 0.4 mg per kg OR
- 6 ml per 25 lb of body weight.
3. Prohibit Cattle and Sheep Wormer for goats
Prohibit Cattle and Sheep Wormer is an effective deworming medication that is safe to use on goats. It’s labeled for cattle and sheep, but you can use it to worm your goats just fine.
Prohibit is a broad-spectrum wormer. This means that it will take care of more than just intestinal worms. It will take care of stomach, intestinal and lung worms.
There is a downside to using Prohibit for your goats. It’s not my first choice to use because it’s sold as a powder. It’s sold as a powder to increase the shelf life of the medication. However, you do have to mix it with water before using it.
You can’t just suck it up into a syringe and go like some of the other wormers.
I also don’t like the idea of diluting my own medication. It leaves room for error. You could accidentally mix too much water (making it not effective) or not mix enough water with it. If not enough water is mixed with it, it can be dangerous for goats.
So you’re walking a fence of whether it’s diluted too much or too little.
I prefer to use a wormer that is already mixed up. Plus it just saves time and leaves less buckets for me to have to clean up afterwards.
But, if you’re looking for a shelf-stable, effective wormer that will take care of a bigger spectrum of worms, this is a solid choice.
The dosage for Prohibit is:
- 12 mg per kg of body weight OR
- 2.7 ml per 25 lb of body weight
4. Cydectin Sheep Dewormer for goats
Cydectin Sheep Dewormer is a safe for use on goats. The active ingredient (moxidectin) is effective against 13 types of worms, including barber pole worms.
This is a pre-mixed medication that comes in a large container. I prefer to buy the large containers because it’s much cheaper that way. You can keep them at room temperature in your home safely and they will last longer.
This liquid medication is given orally, so you’ll need a syringe or drench gun to give it.
The dosage for using Cydectin in goats is:
- 0.4 mg per kg of body weight OR
- 4.5 ml per 25 lb of body weight
If you’re raising animals for meat or milk, cydectin has one of the shortest withdrawal periods of deworming medications.
Another fun fact about cydectin… it doesn’t harm dung beetles, which are a valuable commodity in some areas apparently.
Cydectin does have some efficiency against biting external parasites, like nose bots.
5. Rumatel Wormer for Goats
Rumatel is a patented medication that is an effective dewormer. It contains the active ingredient morantel. It’s found in several goat deworming products. Durvet sells a deworming pellet containing Rumantel called Goat Care Goat Dewormer.
Rumatel is one of the easiest wormers to give because it’s in a pelleted form. This means no messy drench guns or syringes and you don’t have to sit there and hold a goat’s head while it swallows.
Most goats will eat the pellets just fine. With that being said, even though the pellets are designed to look and smell like feed, some goats that are picky may look at the pellets and turn their nose up. It’s a good idea to remove all other feed before giving Rumantel.
It’s also a good idea to separate goats to make sure that each one is getting the proper dosage. Fast eaters may get too much and the more submissive goats may not get enough if you don’t separate them during feeding.
Rumantel is effective against barberpole worms (haemonchus contortus), medium stomach worms (oxtertagia (teladorsagia) circumcincta) and stomach hair worms (trichostrongylus axei).
Rumantel may not treat as many types of internal parasites as some of the other medications this list, but it’s highly effective against the ones that cause the most damage to goats.
If you’re using this on dairy goats, there is no withdrawal time between worming and milking. That means that you won’t have to toss out milk after worming your milk does. There is a 30 day withdrawal period for meat goats, though.
Each dewormer that contains Rumantel is going to have a slightly different dosage, so it’s important to read the recommended dosage for each product. Since this is a product intended for goats, the label dosage is correct.
If you’re having serious problems with worms, you can increase the recommended dosage by 1.5-2 X to make it more effective.
Rumantel only treats mature worms, so plan on giving another dose 2 weeks after the initial dose to kill any young worms that mature.
One bag of Durvet Goat Care Goat Dewormer will treat 12 goats that weigh 50 pounds.
Dewormers That I Wouldn’t Use
Valbazen. It’s safe to use for goats unless they might be pregnant.
Valbazen can cause abortions and all sorts of issues during the first trimester of pregnancy. Because of this, I avoid it.
There are other options that are considered safe for pregnant does so why risk it?
I’m also careful of many of the ‘homemade’ remedies. Yes, it’s possible to keep internal parasite loads low using herbs and other natural methods. However, if your goat is showing problems of having a worm overload, odds are that he/she is having some serious issues and you may not have the time for natural methods to work.
Many veterinarians agree with this statement. Although natural methods can help, when it comes down to the wire and you’ve got a goat sick with worms, stick to the proven methods. Once the worms are no longer threating your goat’s life, then you can try some of the natural methods to keep the problem from rearing it’s head again.
Frequently Asked Questions About Worming Goats:
Can I deworm pregnant goats?
Yes. Safeguard Goat Dewormer is safe to use in all classes of goats, including pregnant goats. If you suspect that your doe might be pregnant, use Safe Guard Dewormer to treat her for worms if needed. It’s effective and you don’t have to worry about it causing abortions or reproductive issues.
How do I give the wormer to my goats?
Rumantel Goat Wormer is a pellet and can be fed. The rest of the goat dewormers are liquid medications that you’ll need to give orally. You can’t just pour this over the goat’s feed because they won’t eat it.
If you’re worming just a few goats, a syringe works fine. A drench gun is more reusable than syringes. They are designed for being used over and over. If you’re worming a lot of goats, you can attach a drench gun to a medication backpack.
The drench gun will then pull medication from the backpack and you won’t have to keep opening a bottle of medication, filling a syringe and then closing the medication between goats.
It’s simple, but check out the video below to see how one works. The video demonstrates on sheep, but the principle is the same for goats:
Can you give a goat too much wormer?
If you use the medications that I’ve listed above, then it’s very hard to harm your goat by giving them too much wormer.
The problem isn’t with hurting your goat, but affecting the population of worms that you’re trying to treat. If you routinely give your goat dewormer when they don’t actually need it, you’ll create populations of worms that are resistant to medication.
This is a common problem that is seen today. A few decades ago, it was common practice to worm livestock frequently (every six weeks or so). It’s important to note that you’ll never 100% eliminate worms in your goats. 95% elimination is closer to the reality.
When you medicate your goats for worms, the small percentage that weren’t killed will reproduce. If you continue to expose them to the wormer over and over then you’ll eliminate the rest of the population that can be killed by wormer.
That sounds great until you realize that the only worms remaining that can (and will) reproduce are the ones that your wormer didn’t kill. They can pass this ability to survive dewormer on to their offspring, eventually creating worms that are resistant to medication.
That’s not a good problem to have.
So, while you won’t usually harm the goat by overworming them, you’re just creating a bigger problem for yourself down the line.
How often should you worm goats?
I recommend checking your goats for anemia every 2-3 months at least. How do you know when a goat needs worming? Use the FAMACHA scoring method for this. Goats that are undergoing some type of stress (change of environment, rapid growth, giving birth, etc.) should be checked more frequently.
Only worm goats that need it. The goat’s body has adapted with the internal parasites and when the parasite overload isn’t too high, goats can adapt and live healthy lives. Only worm goats with low FAMACHA scores or high fecal egg counts.
About to worm your goats? Don’t forget to grab your syringes or drench gun to make it easy!