FAMACHA Course held at James Cook Uni

A goat worm control hand-on workshop was arranged by the Townsville & District Goat Club and was held at the veterinary school at the James Cook University, Townsville (JCU) on 15th October, 2016.   A total of 36 attendees were enrolled, although two registrants from Papua New Guinea did not arrive unfortunately.  Veterinary students were also invited to sit in on the lecture in exchange for their help with the hands’-on component of the course.  Several took up this opportunity despite examinations being only a few weeks away.

The day started out with a lecture in a very modern lecture theatre with four TV screens as well as the central screen for the PowerPoint presentation.  Dr Sandra Baxendell gave an hour lecture about goats and worms concentrating on the goat’s environment, the goats and also worms in turn. Pasture management and feeder design was stressed as well as feeding goats well to allow them to cope better with worms.  Treatment of worms was then discussed as well as the growing problem of drench resistance and the increasing range of barber’s pole worms.  The use of FAMACHA© scoring to select goats for drenching rather than drenching the whole herd and to select for goats to keep in the herd was discussed.

After morning tea, participants then went to the JCU animal yards and shed facilities for their hand-on training. Half the group did FAMACHA© scoring and 5 point checks of the University’s meat goat herd. The other half, led by the fourth year vet students, learnt how to do faecal egg counts.  The first group were given their FAMACHA© cards and spilt into pairs. Dr Sandra Baxendell demonstrated how to use the FAMACHA© cards and to do the 5 point check© as recommended by Dr Greg Bath. These 5 points are:

·         The FAMACHA score of the eye mucous membranes

·         The body condition score

·         The sleekness of the coat

·         Evidence of scouring under the tail

·         Evidence of “bottle jaw” under the face and neck

The groups then swapped after every person had examined a goat and explained their decision as to whether to drench it or not.

During lunch there was a lot of time for questions and networking in very comfortable air-conditioned room with sofas as well as tables and chairs.  Brian & Jean Venten from the Ebuta Goat Dairy in Townsville had brought along samples of their goat milk gelatos of many different flavours.  The Ebuta Dairy is a registered goat dairy and has just expanded from raw milk to gelatos.  Certificates were then given and evaluation forms were collected. The evaluations were all very positive with ratings of well above 4 (out of maximum of 5).