I did find some of the text responses interesting, especially the various answers for why each participant feels that their deworming practices are or are not working. The vast majority of you are confident in your deworming practices. Those who are not, have experienced the same conditions I have this summer, and blame the increased wet weather with creating ideal conditions for parasite proliferation. This means that we must be even more vigilant in parasite prevention and, if necessary, consult a medical professional for advice.
A great many of you stated that you use fecal testing to verify the effectiveness of your deworming practices, which is, in my opinion, the best way to verify the size and type of worm load your goats may be carrying. I must confess a tiny bit of jealousy however, for those of you who are able to do your own fecal testing. A good microscope is definitely on my wish list.
As I described previously, I have struggled with worm prevention in my herd this year. The first fecal confirmed my suspicions that my usual dewormer choices were not working the way they have in years past. This was a bit unnerving because I was already using what is widely accepted in my area to be the most effective deworming drug. My vet asked me to try Valbazen, which is something I have not previously used in my own herd, but I know it to be popular among sheep breeders in my area. The follow-up fecal showed a vast improvement, and confirmed that the Valbazen worked quite well. I am now adding this to my arsenal.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, Valbazen is the brand name for a drug called albendazole. If that sounds familiar, it is because albendazole is in the same drug family as fenbendazole, otherwise known as Safe-Guard or Panacur. This might explain why I have not attempted the use of Valbazen previously. My past experience with fenbendazole was a very bad experience and, on the advice of the medical professionals I consulted at that time, I discontinued use of fenbendazole. The receptionist at my current vet's office however, explained to me that they are finding fenbendazole to be effective in goats however, the dose required is double what is indicated on the product label. Armed with this new knowledge, I may consider giving fenbendazole a second chance. Knowing that parasites are constantly changing and adapting to whatever we throw at them, I am willing to have an open mind. I am willing to try both new things, and old things in new ways. Knowledge, combined with vigilance however, is key. I'm sure it annoys the heck out of everyone I know, but I ask a lot of questions and must always know "why?" If this is not already your common practice, I highly recommend that you consider adopting it - to empower yourself.
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