Sophia, as you probably remember, is my goat. She produces all the milk for my soaps! It’s a big job but she’s luckily been able to handle it…until now. She’s been steadily losing weight since she gave birth on May 25 to a beautiful set of twins! The twins were weaned about a month ago and Sophia took up her stance as milk provider for soap! Sophia and I have a great bond so much so that she won’t finish eating unless I sit next to her so sometimes I’m not milking I’m just sitting there petting her tummy, rubbing her neck and talking to her.
Over the course of the last 4 weeks I noticed her getting skinnier and skinnier. As a matter of fact, right now she is a poster child for what a NY runway model looks like, hip bones and all! I kept mentioning it to my DH and he said things like “She’s a skinny breed.” I mentioned it to my daughter, who as you remember was the goat herder to start with, and she said “I’m not around that much so just worm her.” So 2 weeks ago I wormed her with Ivermectin our usual medication for such. But she just kept getting skinnier. Finally my DH looked at her this week and said “You know, Sophia is looking kinda skinny.” DUH!!!!!! So I called the vet who said over the phone, to increase her food, use good quality food, and worm her. When I reported I had done just that he scheduled a trip to the farm. So Wednesday we got the devastating news that Sophia has a very serious parasite infection. As a matter of fact the vet wasn’t sure how she was actually still alive! We are very lucky that Sophia likes to eat because her appetite will be our indication that things are getting better instead of worse.
It appears that Ivermectin, although introduced in the 1980’s has already gotten to the point that the parasites have developed resistance. So much so that Ivermectin is essentially worthless! The vet suggested we now use Cydectin. It too has resistance problems but the level of resistance is lower than with Ivermectin. The best med, of course, is no longer being made! I think that was truly the most upsetting part of all of this, pharmaceutical companies are not interested in developing better meds as they don’t feel there is a profit in them! Why is everything always about money!! What happened to caring?
Now that I have a goat farm, as opposed to just Sophia, I figured I needed to understand this whole process. All the parasites live in the ground. Some develop more than others while on the grass but they all originate there. The moist conditions we have had this summer really provide a prime living growing space for these critters! When we have drier, hotter summers the heat and lack of water kill off some but not all of the parasites. The parasites move up the grass in moist times and then back to the ground when it is dry and hot. This year, in Georgia, we have had near flood conditions all summer so the parasites have gone forth a multiplied with a vengeance! The goats eat the grass and that introduces the parasites to their host! In a healthy goat the parasites may not cause problems and regular deworming is enough. Problem comes when a goat gives birth, as Sophia did, and is lactating, as Sophia was, the immune system of the goat goes way down! So a parasite or two or three can take hold in a big way. Thus leading to our big problem! I found a great article on the internal parasites of the goat, if you’re interested. http://www.goatbiology.com/parasites.html So as we keep a watch on Sophia I will keep everyone updated. Lucky for me I have a freezer full of Sophia’s goodness so I am set for a while but right now my main concern is not soap, its making sure the sweet goat in the picture stays around for many more years!
- The pleasures and pitfalls of raising goats (rustikmagazine.com)