What Are the Treatments for Lice in Goats?

If your goats become infested with lice, you will need to apply repeated treatments to eradicate the problem. There are several treatment options on the market. If you find one goat with lice, chances are all of your goats will be infested, or will be quite soon.

A monthly pest-control program will ensure the health and comfort of your herd.


There are two types of lice that might affect your goats, biting lice and sucking lice. Goat lice are picky about their hosts and only infest goats and sheep. They spend their entire lives feeding on the skin and blood of their hosts. A lice infestation will cause much more serious problems for your goat than itching: It can lead to hair loss, a reduction in milk, and even weight loss. In severe cases, your goat may develop anaemia from the loss of blood.


Biting lice live on the skin surface and feed on shed skin cells and hair debris. Biting lice are best attacked with an external insecticide, which can be dips or sprays. The main ingredient is the dips and sprays is diazinon, which kills lice on contact and it stays on the skin and hair for a residual effect. Treatment needs to be repeated every two weeks until the lice are gone. Diazinon is effective in killing both types of lice that infest goats.

Back Line Treatments

Back line treatments are similar to Frontline for dogs. They are applied in a line down your goat's back. The treatment is absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream. Deltamethrin is a back line treatment approved for use in goats. Because it is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is most effective in treating sucking lice. The treatment needs to be applied every 30 days for best control of lice problems.


Ivomec is an injectable de-wormer for cattle that is also effective in killing external parasites such as lice. Ivomec belongs to a family of drugs called mectrins. It is used off label in goats, meaning it has not been approved for use in goats. Consult your veterinarian before using mectrins on goats, because the dosage for goats differs from the dosage used for cattle. Because mectrins can stay in the system for up to 30 days, it is a popular treatment among goat farmers.


Follow up treatment is always needed to kill any lice that have hatched. You should treat all of your goats at the same time. The barn and bedding areas will have to be cleaned and sprayed as well to prevent reinfestation. Always isolate new animals until your goats have had at least two treatments.


With all three treatment methods, you need to discard all milk taken from treated goats for three days. If you use Ivomec or back line treatments, goats should not be used for slaughter for 28 days following the last treatment. The "withdraw" period for slaughter in goats treated with sprays or dips is a minimum of seven days. Always read the manufacture's instructions and warnings, as withdraw periods may very for each product.