Properly treating mites in goats requires prompt recognition of symptoms and the ability to follow through with the entire treatment regimen. Various mite species that could infest your goat include Sarcoptes scabiei, Chorioptes caprae, Psoroptes cuniculi and Demodex caprae. These microscopic external parasites survive by burrowing into your goat's skin, causing a condition called mange. Look for symptoms of mange mites throughout the year, but especially during the late winter and early spring, says Dr. Mary Smith, co-author of "Goat Medicine."
Separate the mite-infected goat from the rest of your goat herd immediately. Secure the goat in a pen by itself, being careful to ensure that the pen is located far enough away from the rest of the animals to prevent direct contact since mites can quickly spread to nearby goats -- especially those with weakened immune systems such as young kids and expectant does.
Identify the type of mite causing the infestation. Look around the goat's legs and feet -- especially the front dewclaws -- for skin lesions and bumps caused by chorioptic mange and around its ears for localised lesions and drainage caused by psoroptic mange. Examine the eyes, muzzle and ears for hair loss and scaly skin caused by sarcoptic mange; and check the udder, neck and face area for crust-covered bumps caused by demodectic mange. If you're unsure which mite species is causing the infection, have your veterinarian examine the goat and collect a skin scraping for laboratory analysis, if necessary.
Clip the infected animal to reveal the extent of the skin damage caused by the mites. Remove excess hair around the torso, neck and udder area using a set of large animal clippers and 1/2-inch blades. Disinfect the clipper blades immediately after clipping the goat.
Administer an acaricide approved for use in goats, which includes both topical sprays and subcutaneous injections. Stick with a topical spray that contains pyrethroids or a similar synthetic insecticide for less-severe mite infestations; certain severe mite infestations may require an injectable antiparasitic medication. If the infected goat is a lactating dairy goat, talk to your veterinarian about using a 2-percent lime-sulphur spray to prevent milk contamination.
Retreat the infested goat once weekly for four to six weeks, depending upon the severity of the mange and whether or not symptoms persist. If you continue to notice ongoing symptoms for more than six weeks, contact your veterinarian.
If you decide to use a topical mite spray, wash your goat before administering the medication; this should help the medication penetrate the skin more readily.
Certain animal mite species could infest humans, so always wear rubber gloves when working with a goat that you suspect may have mange.
Tips and warnings
- If you decide to use a topical mite spray, wash your goat before administering the medication; this should help the medication penetrate the skin more readily.
- Certain animal mite species could infest humans, so always wear rubber gloves when working with a goat that you suspect may have mange.