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Posted: 07/26/2023

The 3 Pillars of Goat Herd Health

Like any species, preventative programs in goat herds are important to the animals’ well-being – both individually and collectively. Whether they live as pets or are part of an operation to produce meat or milk, there are general husbandry principles that can be considered to improve the health of goat herds. Merck Animal Health created a helpful informational graphic that distinctly spells out the 3 pillars of goat herd health. We’ll assess each of those pillars here along with some frequently asked questions about preventative programs for goats.

A herd of dairy goats standing by fence

Pillar #1: Deworm

The goat industry has faced an increased problem with parasite resistance in recent years, according to a 2020 study. Barber pole worms and brown stomach worms are the biggest culprits and they both reproduce rather quickly. Once infected, goats may experience poor growth, cough, diarrhea, anemia and even death. Both of these worms are prevalent in pastures, so rotational grazing can help decrease worm infections as it presents fresh grass and a clean pasture to the animals. A rotation also means the goats’ feces stay in other areas of the pasture, so any worm eggs within the feces will die without a new host to ingest them.

Still, rotational grazing is only one element in the fight. Finding the right dewormer gives producers and homesteaders a preventative tool. Though they must be mindful to avoid products that exacerbate resistance and even lead to production losses that stem from infections.

What’s the Best Dewormer for Goats?

Safe-Guard Goat Dewormer Suspension is both an effective and safe tool in the war on worms. A single application via Merck’s easy-to-use applicator gun delivers accurate, stress-free deworming. Though it’s not for use with lactating goats, this dewormer is safe for pregnant goats.

Pillar #2: Vaccinate

In addition to picking up worms in the pasture, there are several common diseases in the environment that you may want to protect your goats against. Clostridial diseases come from a kind of anaerobic bacteria that create spores and goats pick them up via open wounds or contaminated feed, among other places. Common Clostridial diseases include enterotoxemia (bloody scours), tetanus (lock jaw), blackleg and others.

Reactive treatments for these diseases can be costly and time-consuming, but preventative vaccination is a valuable tool that can protect your investment. Merck’s Bovilis Vision CD-T with SPUR vaccine has been shown to be effective against tetanus, enterotoxemia, and other common clostridial diseases that impact goats. This vaccine may even be suitable for use on organic farms, so check with your certifier.

Pillar #3: Control

Are your goats itchy and irritated? Have you noticed spots of hair loss or alopecia? External parasites are probably wreaking havoc among your herd, and managing any infestation before it spreads to multiple animals is an important step in preserving production gains and avoiding further stress on the animals.

Lice, flies and ticks feed on the blood, skin and hair of goats, leaving them with wounds and irritated skin. These tissues and wounds can lead to bacterial skin infections and to the spread of disease among multiple animals. While the pests aren’t often killing goats, owners do usually notice a slower weight gain and lowered milk production, which does kill profits. There’s a solution that’s simpler than you might think.

What Goat Pour-Ons are Safe for Lactating Dairy Goats?

PBS Animal Health customers rave over this next product on our website with 4.9 out of 5 stars based on several positive reviews. Ultra Boss Pour-On Insecticide targets lice, horn flies, face flies, mosquitoes and ticks with broad-spectrum control for up to 8 weeks. This pour-on application is safe for lactating and non-lactating dairy goats, and can also be used for dairy cattle, beef cattle, calves, sheep and horses.

Lock in Prevention with Merck’s 3 Pillars

The triad of Merck Animal Health Products to deworm, vaccinate and control work to specifically serve goat producers around the globe. See how these and other Merck products from PBS Animal Health can help improve the health of your pets and production animals alike. Shop goat herd products and other Merck Animal Health solutions today!

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