Biting lice on goats
The first step in
dealing with Aurora's
biters was to figure out what exactly is chewing on her. After
combing through her hair in bright sunlight for a while, I finally
discovered small, slow-moving brown spots. Clipping a bit of hair plus
biter then photographing and zooming way in on the resultant image
resulted in a diagnosis --- biting lice (Bovicola
treatment methods exist for lice on goats, but all either seem too
invasive to me or have proven ineffective. On the ineffective front,
diatomaceous earth did absolutely nothing to hinder Aurora's lice
despite brushing gobs of it into her hair for multiple days running. On
the invasive front, soaking your animal in any liquid (including water)
and keeping her wet for six hours will kill nearly all lice...good luck
with that. Shearing is also effective at removing 30 to 50% of lice,
with most of the rest naturally dying as they're exposed to
weather...but we have a cold spell coming up and I don't think our
goats would enjoy being sheared.
So, chemicals it is. The
internet is mixed on mainstream methods of treatment, but one extension
agent site says that the ivermectin or moxidectin dosages that work on
sucking lice aren't effective against biting lice. Instead, they
recommend treating with permethrin, which comes in various brand names
and application patterns. Of these, Ultra
Boss is labelled for
use on goats as a pour-on (meaning you can apply in a strip down the
animal's back like cat or dog flea meds). That seems the least
invasive, so we're going to give it a shot --- treat once, then wait
two weeks and treat again. Fingers crossed poor Aurora will stop
stamping and scratching in the near future.
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