Developing a Drenching Program

Drenches (anthelminics) are only one part of what MUST be an integrated approach to worm control on any farm. Factors such as drench resistance, worm monitoring and grazing management are also necessary.

Many farmers run goats as well as sheep on their properties, often with the assumption that the two species can be handled in the same way. The use of any product not specifically registered for goats can only be done following the approval of a veterinarian.

There are few drenches recommended for goats and the use of sheep drenches which are not registered for Goats will impact on your National Vendor Declaration (NVD) when selling your animals and should only be used under Veterinary supervision. The most recent release of the specific goat drench – Caprimec by Virbac Animal Health, ensures now that there is a highly effective drench specifically for goats.

Goats tend to become stressed more easily than sheep, particularly goats which have had minimal handling. This is particularly evident when pushing goats into a drenching race. The animals can become very stressed and can suffocate each other.

A goat with worms is not a productive goat, weight loss, scours and death can occur in affected animals.

An effective drenching program leads to healthier goats, less worms on pastures to be passed onto another animals, drenches remain effective for longer and there is a reduced risk of resistance.

Preparing Goats for Drenching

Yard goats to be drenched approximately 24 hours prior to drenching. DO NOT allow the goats  access to feed but ensure they have access to clean fresh water.

Once drenched, again DO NOT allow the goats access to feed for at least 12 hours but ensure they have access to clean fresh water.

Ensure that you drench all goats on the same day and that they definitely swallow the drench and not spit it out.

Effective Drenching

Only use the correct dose as detailed on the instruction for use sheet on the drench container.  DO NOT guess the weight of an animal as under drenching can lead to drench resistance. Draft goats into different groups by weight allowing approximately a range of 10kg in the groups i.e 20-30kg, 31-40 kg etc.

Use a standard sheep drench gun.   Place the tip of the gun over the tongue.   Goats vocalize when being handled which increases the risk to the drench entering their lungs rather than down the oesophagus.

Drench Resistance / Faecal Egg Counts

As part of an effective drenching program, testing that your drench is effective is essential and will reduce the risk of drench resistance.

The process known as faecal egg count (FEC) will help you determine your parasite burden and the effectiveness of your drench.  FEC can be done by yourself or once you have collected the sample sent as a Veterinary Laboratory for a result.


(In part sourced from Farming Meat Goats by Barbara Vincent, Australian Goat Notes)

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