Keeping up with wily worms

By Connie Orcutt • Published: May 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Goats constantly battle intestinal parasites, especially barber pole worms, so named for their twisting red and white stripes. These bloodsuckers are known for the anemia they inflict.

All goats carry barber pole worms. The challenge is preventing the worms from tipping the scales. Drug resistance is rampant, and no new drugs are on the horizon. So these days, parasite control depends as much on environmental measures as pharmaceutical ones.

Infected goats pass barber pole worm larvae in manure. Since these young worms can’t climb well, passage to other goats can be stymied by allowing animals to browse on tall plants instead of graze on pasture. Reducing the number of goats per acre can also help as can feeding a nutritious supplemental diet to boost immunity.

Your veterinarian can offer other strategies to keep up with these wily worms.