In this complete guide to goat lice, we answer the most common questions that farmers ask about this condition, including causes and treatments (home remedies and the best medicine), and more.
What Is Goat Lice?
Goats are prone to numerous parasitic conditions like mites, fleas, worms, lice, etc. The reason is that parasites are part of the environment along with goats. Therefore, it is almost not possible to get rid of these parasitic conditions entirely. Nevertheless, with adequate management, it is possible to minimize the effects of these conditions on the health of the goats.
Scratching in goats is a definite clue of the lice. The ideal location for insects on the goat’s body is behind the forelegs. Lice usually affect the health of the goats during the cold seasons and are linked to the confined area.
What Causes Lice in Goats?
The entire life cycle of lice is usually on their specific host like goats. The female lice lay the eggs on the hair near to the body coat. The hatching of the eggs starts in 9-18 days. At the age of 28 days lice start laying eggs and die soon after the reproduction. Thus, there are numerous generations of lice each year.
The life cycle of lice started with the transmission of lice one goat to others by contact. The infestation of lice between flock to flock occurs with the introduction of a new infested goat to the whole pack. However, lice are unable to stay alive more than seven days without their host. Hence, the population of lice fluctuates throughout the year, while the lowest population occurs during the summer and maximum in winter and spring.
Another mode of transmission of goat lice is the mechanical transmission, i.e. spread through clothing and shearing of the goats. The spread of lice is also possible through the bedding.
What Does Goat Lice Look Like?
There are two different types of lice, i.e. sucking lice and biting lice. Lice are quite visible without the help of the microscope. The biting lice usually feed on the skin and hair of the goats, and their head is a bit wider to accommodate a chewing apparatus. The body colour of lice is a bit lighter and varies from grey to tan colour.
The other type of lice, i.e. sucking lice has narrow heads, and they cut the skin to suck the blood of the goats. Therefore, the bodies of sucking lice are dark as compared to the biting lice and the evidence of sucking lice are usually on the body of the goats.
Can Human Get Goat Lice?
There are two types of goat lice, i.e., biting lice and sucking lice. Both kinds of goat lice are host specific i.e., and they can infect only goats and not other animals, including humans. The goat’s lice are not transmittable to humans. However, these lice are contagious to other healthy goats and spread very rapidly within the flock.
Can Lice Kill Baby Goats?
Lice are not life-threatening to the healthy goats, including the baby goats. However, the lice do introduce anaemia in the goats. However, the lice make the baby goats uncomfortable and irritate the skin of the goats. The baby goats may lose their hair and face anaemia.
Goat Lice Treatment - Most Effective Treatments
There is two types of treatment for the lice of goat, i.e. systemically treatment and topical treatment. The treatment of goat lice depends on the types of lice present on the body of the goats. The application of topical treatment will help get rid of the biting lice. A powder or liquid, when applied directly on the skin of the goat, will remove the biting lice. However, for sucking lice, both topical and systemically treatment is necessary.
Goat Lice Treatment - Ivermectin
Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum anthelminthic medicine. Ivermectin has a handy effect on the external parasites. The ivermectin comes both pour-on form as well as in injectable form. The dose of ivermectin is 1ml/50 pounds in injectable form. However, pour-on treatment is 1 ml/10 pounds of animals. There action is broad-sprectum against a host of parasites. These compounds are generally more costly as compared to other alternatives.
Goat Lice Natural Treatment - Apple Cider Vinegar for Goat Lice
Apple Cedar Vinegar is an effective natural treatment for the goat lice. It has not only effective results on the lice but also has many beneficial effects on the health of the goats. Apart from treatment, apple cedar vinegar will help the goats to have an efficient rumen, increase weight gain, prevent scours, and much more.
The dose of apple cedar vinegar to remove the lice from the goat’s body is adding a single cup of apple cedar vinegar to thirty gallons of water once in seven days. Use the same amount of the apple cedar vinegar with water two times a week if there are breeding seasons. Spray the entire body of the goats with the solution mentioned above to remove the lice. Adding a few droplets of oil from tea tree will help to repel the lice, fleas, and biting flies.
Goat Lice Control - How to Prevent Goat Lice