Goat itch?

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I got 2 goats a few months ago. Recently, most every time I see them, they are trying to rub agains a tree, fence, car, just anything to try to scratch themselves. Do they maybe have itch, lice or something? Your responses appreciated. Eagle.

-- eagle (eagle@alpha1.net), February 08, 2000


I have also had goats that do this. No I don't think that they have lice, they just love to rub up against anything including their fences, which they can push over with this kind of activity. You can of course check for lice which goats can get. I have put my goats up in their stanchion and given them a bath and shave which helps with itching (when the weather is warm). But even then they still seem to like to rub against anything! If they do indeed have lice I would bathe them in a shampoo with tea tree oil in it, shave them, clean their bedding and give lots of fresh greens, leaves, bark etc. instead of using a poisonous chemical on them. Good luck and give your goats a kiss from me, sincerely a fellow goat lover, Chris

-- Christine Allen (cfallen00@hotmail.com), February 08, 2000.

I'm sorry, Eagle, but this does sound like lice to me. I bought a goat last year that had lice, and it was easy to find them when I was trimming her fur. She still had a nice coat, just lots of lice. I didn't want to risk having several itchy goats, so I bought the lice stuff from the farm supply store. I now have a lifetime supply, unfortunately. (It takes about half of a capful down the goat's back.)

-- Rachel (rldk@hotmail.com), February 09, 2000.

Might or might not be lice. I have had some that just plain liked to rub on things. One would stand and scratch her back and sides on trees and the fence posts and contentedly grunt while she did it. She didn't have lice.

-- Marci (ajourend@libby.org), February 09, 2000.

Maybe she has lice, maybe she doesn't. The only way to know is to look. Spread the hair and look at her skin alongside her backbone or near the foreudder. You don't need to worry- goat lice do not bother people at all. If the weather is warm there,at least 70-80 degrees or more, go ahead and give her a bath adn clip her hair short.If it's cooler than that the bath will have to wait- goats can get pneumonia very easily is they are wet and cold.The only way to bathe a goat is to do it on a warm day, early in the day, in the sunshine so she doesn't get cold. They are very sensitive to being cold and wet.So if she has lice and you can't bathe her, relax-the lice will not affect you and they are not hard to get rid of. There are a few things you can do to control the lice until bathtime. Get some diatomaceous earth and rub it into their coats, beiong careful not to splash it around too much, and wear a dust mask when you apply it.It is not good for your lungs to breathe it.Make sure to get her belly, foreudder area, and all along the backbone and in the hollow area just beneath her hips. These are the worst problem areas. If you have the time, you can take a stiff scrub brush and brush her well before you dust her, that way ther will be fewer dead skin cells for the lice to hide around. If it is very cold there(still ice and snow) as it is here, don't brush her- you'd remove the warm undercoat of down that is her main protection from the cold. Removing the old bedding, spreading diatomaceous earth on the barn floor or soil, and applying fresh bedding will also help considerably. In the summer that will also control the flies! I would not use a nasty chemical on her- especially if she is a milk goat or is pregnant. It just isn't necessary and the lice will come back if the old bedding isn't removed anyways.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@transport.com), February 09, 2000.

Our vet gave Ivermectin to the goats; it got rid of some kind of worms, and cleared up the external parasites, too. You are supposed to worm the does right after kidding; you might try it. The horse paste wormer works fine, and a tube goes a LONG way; just use the weight chart for dosing. Ours always slicked right up after a dose. Dump the milk or give it to the baby goats for a few days after worming. I never had any problems with critter lice latching onto human hosts, but Carla Emery evidently had other experiences. See page 564 of her book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living. Makes me itch to think of it.... I liked to bathe our goats on a warm late spring day, and clip them the next--it saved the clippers from getting dull on the grime in the coat. The ladies were more comfy and looked much nicer; it got rid of varmits in the fur, and the milk stayed cleaner.

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), February 09, 2000.

Hi!1 saw your post and wanted to mention my experience with this. My goats too were itching. I thought it was just typical itching that is til... getting them ready for a show. I was clipping them and on one goat thought I saw something jump out of the cornor of my eye. It turned out to be lice. i had combed the girls before and checked, saw nothing. the reason I did not see it was because they had down fur. i went to the vet, an emergency vet as mine was out of town. he gave me this blue spray to use. needless to say I showed blue smurf goats! please check carefully. it'll look like rice flecks. Give ivomectrin or use servin. Hope this helps.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), February 10, 2000.

Thanks so much for the responses concerning goat lice. I'll give them a good checkover and see what I see. . I have a huge bag of diatemaceous (boy, that's a mouthfull , huh?) earth, a 50# bag,about a 100 year supply. (We mix a little with the chicken feed to keep bugs out). I'll try some of that and watch for a while and then see about giving them a bath. I want to look into the Ivermectin (it must be something like anibiotic, or something.). Also want to look into the horse paste wormer and see what that is. Thanks again to all. Eagle

-- eagle (eagle@alpha1.net), February 12, 2000.

Hi, Eagle...Ivermectin is a wormer. Go to the livestock wormer section of your feed and supply store. The kind that we used was for horses, and it comes in a long tube with a plunger (think of a BIG hypodermic, without the needle). The tube has a stop on it, so you can give a measured amount, according to the weight of the goat. Follow the chart on the tube. The stuff has the consistancy of a tube of toothpaste, and you have to squirt it into the critter's mouth. I usually straddled the goat, held up her head, and suqirted it into the "pocket" between the cheek and the gums. Then I held her muzzle up until she swallowed; you have to hold their mouths shut, because this stuff tastes awful, and they want to spit it out (tho I suppose if it was tasty, they would want to spit it out, just because the critter herself didn't put it in there--tis the nature of the beast!!!). If they lose a bit, it is usually alright. If you have a weight tape (like a tape measure, only marked in pounds; you measure around the rib cage area) that would help take the guess work out of the weight-dosage thing. I know Caprine Supply did sell them. They aren't expensive.

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), February 13, 2000.

Leann, thanks for the input. I'll find some Ivermection and try it. Eagle

-- eagle (eagle@alpha1.net), February 13, 2000.

I tried that diatematous (sp?) earth on one of our heifers that had flaky, itchy skin. I think it cleared it up. The stuff you use in the chicken feed, is it the same stuff they use in pools? We just got a can of it from our neighbors who have a pool. I was a bit leary because I'd heard there were different grades. I'd love to use it in the chicken coop too if it's safe. would you kindly let me know if you know. Thanks a bunch!

-- Bob Ambrozaitis (rambrozaitis@snet.net), February 14, 2000.

Bob, I got my DE from a health food store. I don't know what they use in the pools but don't think it's the same stuff that you put on the goats, in chicken feed and stuff.It needs to be "food grade" stuff. Hope this helps. Eagle

-- eagle (eagle@alpha1.net), February 17, 2000.

A much more economical way of using Ivermectin (because you have the correct dosage and aren't guesssing if the paste is the right amount) is to purchase the Ivermectin 1% cattle injectable (we buy it from Jeffers, call 1-800-Jeffers and ask for the Livestock catalog) we use it at 2cc per 100 pounds (also order yourself a weight tape) You syringe it out of the bottle, take off the needle and squirt it in the goats mouth. This will get rid of the stomach worms etc. To use it for lice you inject it at 1cc per 1l0 pounds (under the skin), Ivermectin by mouth will not get rid of lice and injecting Ivermectin will not get rid of worms. I am Lucky enough to belong to a Goat Club that we had a parisitologist from A&M in Austin, TX come and talk at lenght about these subjects and also taught us to do our own fecal samples. Panacure, Safeguard are White wormers and all are benzazoles, we use Valbazen Drench instead because it is much more economical to use. It is dosed at 6cc per 100 pounds also by mouth. You can switch between benzazoles and Ivermectin so that you do not get drug resistance, but we try to use one for a whole season and then switch to the other.. Hope this helps! Vicki McGaugh

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), February 17, 2000.


Thanks for that very informative post. I've been a little afraid of Ivermectin, not sure why, but it seemed so costly. I've just used Safeguard and DE. I will impliment the Ivermectin as a everyother year wormer delouse treatment now that I have some nice, detailed directions for use on goats. I printed your post off and put in my "goat heatlth" notebook. Again, thanks.

-- Jim Roberts (jroberts1@cas.org), February 18, 2000.

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