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Goat natural medicine in the tropics


We are having some particularly stubborn cases of foot rot and foot scald here in Senegal. Even several months into the dry season, some goats and sheep are still limping badly. We have trimmed hooves and are using a iodine solution directly on the hooves. We are also sprinkling a mixture of ash and salt on the infected area, as this was advised by a local vet tech.

Our goats and sheep are also struggling with ticks and various internal parasites. We are looking for natural solutions to these problems.

Any advice?



Hey Hawken,

I’m hoping that this gives you some google ammo, and you find some more exact numbers and solutions to your climate/area. Giving vet care via the internet always needs “salt/discretion.”

Goats and sheep are frail animals. In the way of “natural” ECHO has some articles about tobacco external scrubs. Neem washes, papaya seeds, and chewing on exposed copper wires (copper wire particles) can help clean the insides as well – you will need to seek doseage help, or experiment if you go this route and if no recommendations exist. Then please record your data for other workers in your area. Sheep and goats need different amounts of copper, and can be toxic if feed to sheep in to high an amount.

Seeds of orange squashes (pumpkins, butternut, etc), and presumably other squashs, have a high iron content and can help keep keep red blood cells producing and healthy, because internal and external parasites kill via anemia (thus creating a secondary complication resulting in death).

Older farmers I have read mention cigarettes as a dewormer, a nicotine-like substance being the active agent in some commercial dewormers (not all). Some have used nicotine in their formulations internally, or tobacco internally. You could google and get any number of these.

Of course, timeline along pregnancy/lactation effects these.

Towards the limping, I’ve observed that when a goat learns a limp, or walking on its heels, or the outside edge, it will continue to some degree post healing. Tendons are shortening among other things. I’ve tried weekly mini-trims to bring goats that I acquired back to hoof-health, but I have not found a quick fix. If there is no more rot, smell, or pain/tenderness, getting them to walk may help warm the affect limbs.

I prefer “natural” methods, but there are moments where it is better standard of care to provide a chemical (which came from natural sources at one point), because the health of your animals is a reflection of Creator God, you, and the right way to pursue life. If you have severe parasite issues, you need to look at effective solutions that care for your animals, pasture health (or raised slatted floor and feed sanitation), and being aware of herds that interact with other herds.

To add a post-script, prevention is the best of course, which I’m sure you would agree. As you work with farmers and your own animals, doing little things to help nutrient digestibility (just learned lemongrass might do this, additionally to other fermentation methods), carrying a wide range of food for a cut-and-carry system (not just banana leaves…), etc. Salt/mineral licks homemade or otherwise free choice, etc. Its easier to prevent problems in “natural” methods than it is to fix a problem that has developed. Regular triming, eyelid parasite checking, disbudding/dehorning if appropriate to your culture/needs, are all part of preventative care.

I have yet to find an animal that didn’t benefit from Apple Cider vinegar. I have sprayed externally with moderate success for tick infestations. internally it has a purported immune boost, which anecdotally I agree with.