DIY







How to Deal With Internal Parasites in Livestock

An experienced veterinarian describes what homesteaders can do to keep internal parasites out of their livestock.

| March/April 1979

  • 056 internal parasites 9 tapeworms - cover.jpg
    Tapeworms (Taenia and Dipylidium) are the largest internal parasites.
    PHOTO: RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 1 identification kit.jpg
    You need to identify internal parasites before eliminating them. A vet can use this solution to separate parasite eggs from fecal matter, then examine those eggs under a microscope and prescribe the appropriate treatment.  
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 2 strongyle.jpg
    Strongyle (a common intestinal parasite) eggs revealed by the solution test and magnified 100 times!
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 3 roundworms.jpg
    Roundworms (Ascarids) are among the most common parasites, and are sometimes passed in manure. If your dog or cat has ever had worms, these pests were probably the culprits.   
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 4 whipworm egg.jpg
    Whipworm (Trichurus) egg as seen under the veterinarian's microscope.
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 5 whipworm.jpg
    Whipworms arc parasites found in many barnyard beasts. 
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 6 parasite eggs.jpg
    When a manure test turns up parasite eggs in heavy concentrations, it usually indicates a severe infestation. 
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 7 pinworms.jpg
    These tiny pinworms (Oxyuris) are often the cause of low vitality in horses.
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 8 liver flukes.jpg
    Liver flukes (Fasciola and Fascioloides) infest sheep, goals, and cattle.   
    RANDY KIDD
  • 056 internal parasites 10 horse bots.jpg
    In this section of a badly infested horse's stomach, the brown dots are parasites called "bots."
    RANDY KIDD

  • 056 internal parasites 9 tapeworms - cover.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 1 identification kit.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 2 strongyle.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 3 roundworms.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 4 whipworm egg.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 5 whipworm.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 6 parasite eggs.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 7 pinworms.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 8 liver flukes.jpg
  • 056 internal parasites 10 horse bots.jpg

It's very possible that a number of total strangers are thriving on the food that you give to your livestock or pets. These "freeloaders" may take many forms, but they usually resemble white worms and could be either several feet in length or microscopically small.

I'm talking, of course, about internal parasites. If your feed bills have been rising while the general health and productivity of your animals have been slipping, these pests are probably already well established around your farm or home.

Internal parasites (commonly called worms) occur in every part of the world, and each living creature (yes, even humans) has its own particular worms. Worse yet, since these parasites live (usually) in an animal's belly or intestines, you may not even know that your beasts are infested with 'em! Of course, animals with severe worm problems will display some of the classic symptoms—such as weight loss, poor growth, low milk yields, weakness, or white gums—but a critter can have parasites without showing such drastic signs. For example, a recent experiment conducted on healthy-looking goats showed that milk production was increased by 17% after one dose of an effective worm medicine!

The Problem With Parasites

Before you can even begin a parasite elimination program, though, you'll have to realize that you are faced with more than one form of pest. You see, most worms have several stages in their life cycles. In order to completely eradicate the freeloaders, you have to attack each of those Individual stages separately.



In order to explain this difficulty, let's look at the life cycle of the common parasite, Haemonchus. The adult worm thrives in the stomachs of sheep and goats, and there, in its hiding place, the parasite lays tough-skinned eggs. These are then passed In the host animal's feces (manure) and deposited in pastures, where they can lie for years unaffected by freezing cold or intense heat just waiting for another animal to come along and pick them up.

So, the first problem that confronts the "do it yourself" parasite controller is that worm eggs can be almost anywhere and are nearly impossible to destroy.






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