Have you ever wondered if feeding your goat the skeletal remains of a single-cell algae, also known as Diatomaceous Earth (DE), is an effective alternative in treating worms in goats?
Many sources online swear that DE slashes the worms inside the goats stomach but there is absolutely no scientific evidence that supports those claims. Before we follow any medical advice or suggestion, we like to do a little research. When it comes to animal care, we turn to the University studies.
On the DE claim, we found that there was a study done by North Carolina A & T State University in 2009 to determine the effect of DE on goats naturally-infected with internal parasites. Specifically the Haemonchus Contortus, Eimeria, and Trichostrongylus spp. parasitic worms.
There were 4 groups of treatments and the goats study lasted for six weeks. The goats were kept in sheltered pens with concrete floors. The packed cell volumes, blood cells, both white (WBC) & red cells (RBC), fecal egg counts, body weights were measured weekly.
Over the time period of the study, all groups exhibited increases in fecal egg counts, increases in WBC and a decreases in RBC counts.
The study concluded there was no significant reductions in fecal egg counts as a result of the DE.
In 2005, the United Kingdom published a study to assess the efficacy of DE as an alternative in grazing animals. That study was over a 10 week period with cattle and sheep.
That study concluded that the fecal egg counts did not differ between their three test groups.
In 1994 & 1995, Iowa State University conducted a study in lambs and ewes for the efficacy of DE as a natural way of expelling or destroying parasitic worms especially of the intestines. This study performed necropsies on twenty-two lambs between the two studies.
This study concluded similar results of the two previous studies.
These three studies concluded that:
1. DE does NOT have an effect on parasite loads as measured by the fecal egg counts.
2. DE does NOT reduce anemia as measured by the blood parameters used in the studies.
There is some speculation that DE might help to reduce the parasitic loads on pastures when fed by inhibiting worm larvae development. Further testing required.
Chemical dewormers that are used properly do not harm the goat, the environment or the person administering the chemical dewormers and may even be less toxic to the animal.
Needless to say, we do not feed DE to our goats. We use chemical dewormers based upon fecal testing and FAMACHA scoring.