OBJECTIVE To identify factors associated with strongyle infection and parasite reduction strategies associated with low strongyle fecal egg counts (FECs) in goats on farms in North Carolina.
DESIGN Cross-sectional study.
ANIMALS 631 adult goats on 52 farms in North Carolina.
PROCEDURES Participating farms were visited to collect fecal samples from goats and administer a survey regarding goat, environmental, and management factors. The McMaster technique was used to determine strongyle FEC for each sample. Univariate followed by multivariate modeling was performed to identify factors associated with FEC at the farm and individual goat level.
RESULTS Multivariate analysis controlling for several other factors and multiple comparisons revealed that farms on which no anthelmintic drugs had ever been used had the lowest mean FECs, compared with farms on which specific strategies for parasite control were used; no other variables were significant. For individual goat FEC, significant variables included goat breed, breed type, owner-defined purpose, daily dietary protein intake, and fecal coccidia score. In particular, companion goats (vs meat or dairy goats) had the lowest FECs. Higher dietary protein intake and coccidia scores were associated with higher FECs. Among females, goats that had kidded in the last 6 weeks had the highest FECs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Various factors were identified that appeared to influence the likelihood of strongyle infection in goats. The finding that farms with no history of anthelmintic use had the lowest mean FECs suggested that a focus on preventative measures could reduce the need for anthelmintic drugs and, by extension, lessen the opportunity for the development of anthelmintic resistance.