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Where does this program apply?

The Smallholder worm control program is applicable across Australia for smallholders who do not have the infrastructure to be able to practice grazing management to create low worm-risk paddocks; and who are able to assess each goat individually and then treat individuals as required. Further information on a broader range of worm control options can be obtained from the relevant regional worm control program. 

This map covers all of the other WormBoss regions for goats.

What worms are covered in this program?


The most important roundworms in this region vary across Australia. The list below uses Sydney as the latitude to separate northern and southern areas:

Northern areas (generally north of Sydney)

The most important roundworms in this region:

Less important or only occasionally seen worms:

Southern areas (generally south of Sydney)

The most important roundworms in this region:

Less important or only occasionally seen worms:

Liver fluke

Liver Fluke is an internal parasite that occurs throughout this region where there are colonies of the intermediate host snail (Austropeplea (Lymnaea) tomentosa in temperate and Pseudosuccinia (Lymnaea) columella in warmer areas). It can affect goats severely, sometimes causing deaths. The life cycle differs from the simple life cycle of roundworms, so control strategies are different.  Liver fluke should be considered if there are cases of anaemia or bottle jaw in goats that are not associated with barber’s pole worm.

This program relates to roundworms. To control liver fluke, see Appendices: Liver fluke control.

Other worms

Gastro-intestinal parasites of minor importance, such as stomach fluke and tapeworm, are not covered.

Individual versus mob approach to worm treatment

Smallholders (those with a small number of goats) may find it practical to regularly assess each goat individually and then treat individuals as required.

Treating only those animals that warrant treatment is a good option to help slow the development of drench resistance on your property as drench resistance is a significant problem for most goat owners in the moderate to higher rainfall areas.

In any group of goats, the level of worm infection can vary considerably among animals. Most of the time, only a small proportion of any group will have a higher worm burden. Therefore, when individuals can be assessed regularly, there is the opportunity to treat only those animals that need treatment.

The larger the mob the less practical is individual assessment and treatment. In this case, worm egg counts (WEC) should be the basis of mob treatment decisions and readers are referred to the relevant regional worm control program.

Smallholders should also consider conducting worm egg counts because these remain the most appropriate means for assessing worm infection. If a laboratory service is used, the price per animal is typically about $2.50–$4 for a worm egg count. But there may be a minimum number of tests (e.g. 10) required. A larval culture may also be useful at times to identify the types of worms and most laboratories charge separately for this extra service.

If you choose to assess individuals as the basis for worm control you must assess them regularly, as often as weekly during periods of high worm-risk. Failure to do so, especially, where barber’s pole worm is a risk, can result in illness and death.

>>When to check and when to drench.

Which goats are most susceptible to worms?

  • Weaners in the months after weaning until 18 months of age, when they develop a higher level of worm immunity. Bucks remain as susceptible as young goats.
  • Late pregnant and lactating does are highly susceptible to worms as their worm immunity is reduced in late pregnancy and through early lactation.
  • Adult or not lactating (dry) goats remain susceptible to worms as their immunity develops more slowly than it does in sheep, and is often incomplete.
  • Rangeland goats moving into higher rainfall areas are highly susceptible to worms as they have little experience of worm infection and hence their immunity is poorly developed.

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