How to Deal With Internal Parasites in Livestock, Part II

If internal parasites have infested your livestock despite your best efforts at prevention, here are some countermeasures to take.

| May/June 1979

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Tapeworms are one of the most common internal parasites you'll encounter.


Are your porkers growing poorly (or losing weight)? Do your dairy cows give less milk than they used to? Does your goat have white gums. Does your mutt mope?

When such "classic" symptoms show up, most any owner knows that his or her critters have internal parasites (commonly called worms). But maybe your animals aren't acting all that sickly. Perhaps they just look a wee bit listless. Heck, maybe the beasts even appear to be as happy as cats in a milking parlor!

However, if you read Part I of this article ("How to Deal With Internal Parasites in Livestock"), you know that healthy-looking livestock can have serious worm infestations! To put it simply, parasites are the biggest medical problem we veterinarians have to face. So I know from experience that even when you don't see a single indication of the internal freeloaders, you can be spending money, building feeders, raising thoroughbreds, and in general going to a whole lot of trouble all to provide vintage "pastureland" for some hidden (but enormous) herds of worms!  

Know Your Enemy (The Essential Parasite Primer)

You should understand—before you start tackling these foes—just what parasites do and where they come from. Worms—slimy "spelunkers" that range from microscopic to yardstick size—can invade almost every animal organ. The uninvited visitors will clog hearts, coat stomachs, cause acute bellyaches, block blood circulation, eat your stock's food (or innards), and—in some instances—kill the "hosts" they inhabit.

What's more, the freeloading vermin can strike at any one of several stages in their life cycle. In fact, immature larvae sometimes cause more harm than do "adult" worms, while seemingly harmless parasite eggs can lie dormant around the place for years, just waiting for the right environment (like ol' Bossy's belly) to come along.

These pests can also attack your animals in a number of ways. Some worm types are handed down—like family curses—through the mother's placenta (or in her milk). Flies can deposit eggs in your pet's fur, mosquitoes can inject the pests into a critter's bloodstream, or your beast may simply eat an insect or rodent that's serving as a parasite "halfway house."

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