Parasites and Goats

Mites, Lice, Bot Fly, Ticks, Fleas

First up – Mites

There are several species of mites that can infect goats with the most common being

  • follicle mite aka demodectic mange which occur most in young animals, pregnant does, and dairy goats.   Papules usually appear on the face, neck, axillary region, or udder
  • scabies mite aka sarcoptic mange – usually resolves without treatment but heavy infestations progress showing crusty lesions and extensive hair loss around the muzzle, eyes, and ears; lesions on the inner thighs extending to the hocks, underside, and axillary region; dermal thickening and wrinkling on the scrotum and ears; and dry, scaly skin on all parts of the body.
  • psoroptic ear mite lesions cause crust formation, foul odor ear discharge, and change in behavior such as scratching the ears, head shaking, loss of equilibrium, and spasmodic contractions of neck muscles.
  • chorioptic scab mite aka chorioptic mange or leg mites occurs on the legs and feet.


Goat lice are host specific and not transferable to humans or other animals.  There are two classes of lice – sucking or biting.  Louse-infested animals usually have a dull, matted coat and show excessive scratching and self-grooming behavior.

Bot Fly

Although not a burrowing or sucking parasite, the bot fly will deposit its larvae or maggots into a goats nose.  Symptoms include runny nose with blood flecks in the nasal discharge, excitability, snorting with noses towards ground.


Ticks are either one-host, two-host, or three host specific which means their lifecycle is carried out on either one, two or three separate hosts.  Unfortunately the most common goat ticks are usually the three host ticks which expand the infestation within a herd and are more difficult to treat.


Goats are most often infected by cat fleas or sticktight flea.  Cat fleas are usually found throughout the hair, but the sticktight flea usually stays near the head, face and ears.


Fortunately, treatment and prevention is the same for all these parasites.  Clean out all bedding areas and replace with each treatment.

Option 1) Invomec or ivermectin pour on – Always wear rubber gloves as this is poison – For goats under 25 pounds, dip a cotton ball in a small bowl of the liquid and run the cotton ball down the spine starting at the back of the top of the head. Goats over 25 pounds, do the same as above and repeat three times.  Repeat in 10 days for three doses to ensure all live, eggs and nits are killed. (This is the option we use).

Option 2) In the warmer months this is a great solution – Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide have long been known to have benefits for mange/mite treatment in dogs and other animals.  It has also been used in the goat world with great success.  Here is the article on how to treat with Borax.  Prepare a 5gal bucket of warm water with one box of Borax laundry detergent (save 2 cups) and one bottle of hydrogen peroxide (save 1/2 cup).  Wash the goat completely saturating the entire body especially around hoof area.  Prepare a Borax/Peroxide paste by combining the saved 2 cups Borax and 1/2 cup Peroxide.  After the above wash do not rinse, apply the paste to the most infected areas.  Repeat this treatment once a week for two months.

Option 3) Cat flea and tick powder for adult goats – sprinkle from head to tail and rub down to skin; Use Kitten flea and tick powder for kids.  Repeat every 10 days for three treatments.

Option 4) Cat flea and tick shampoo for adults – Bathe as normal, repeat every 7-10 days; Use Kitten shampoo for kids.

Option 5) Non-chemical – Natural products:  There are many variations of recipes for this treatment.  Below are few we have found useful.

A)      Farnam Equisect – natural oils of citronella, clove stem, thyme and corn mint.  Just spray over goat and rub in.

B)     Oil and Herbal Repellent Recipe

4 cups apple cider vinegar

4 cloves garlic

4 teabags of black tea

3 cloves

Place in pot and bring to a boil, turn down and simmer on low for 10 mins, set aside allow to cool, then let steep over night in refrigerator.  Take out and strain solids from the liquid.  Add the following

2 tsp chrysanthemum oil

2 tbsp dish soap

1 cup Avon skin so soft

2 tsp neem oil

2tsp Tea Tree Oil

Add all to spray bottle.  Can be used weekly as preventative or daily as treatment for fleas, ticks, mites, bots, or lice.

Here’s a great website with pictures of the little buggers!