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Southern by choice

Understanding FAMACHA & Fecal Analysis

Parasite monitoring methods

  1. Southern by choice
    EPG Counts, McMasters Method, 5 Point Check* System and FAMACHA*

    5 Point Check* and FAMACHA* are copyrighted

    Most are familiar with the FAMACHA* method, or the basic "eyelid" check.
    Many goat owners use this method to determine whether their animal may have a parasite load that would require treatment. However, many using FAMACHA* have not been properly trained in this method. The FAMACHA* system should never be the only method used in determining parasite loads. Using the 5 Point Check * System, the McMasters method with EPG Counts, and FAMACHA* together will allow the goat owner to make better decision for the care and management of the herd. The following should help you to understand these methods. A basic understanding will help the goat owner in using the results of these methods to determine the necessary course of action.

    FAMACHA* method and 5 Point Check* System
    FAMACHA-The FAMACHA* system was developed by Dr. Faffa Malan (FAfaMAlanCHArt). The system is one of the ways of determining anemia, caused by the barberpole worm, in your goat. A color chart system developed to use with the checking of the inner lower eyelid allows the goat owner to quickly identify the need to treat for parasites.

    5 Point Check* System- Developed to be used with the FAMACHA* system. The 5 Point Check* system uses the examinations of the eye, back, tail, jaw, and nose. The 5 Point Check* helps the goat owner/producer to look for other signs of parasite infections that may not be barberpole infections.

    Benefits & Drawbacks to the FAMACHA* System
    There is great ease in the use of the FAMACHA* system, from the small herd to large production farms, it is a relatively quick method of seeing if a particular goat looks anemic and potentially has a heavy wormload. The system is very helpful when using additional parasite management methods. It is cost effective and can be done anywhere anytime.

    The disadvantagesof the FAMACHA* system are often overlooked.The FAMACHA* system is only for the barberpole (Haemonchus contortus) parasite. Often too many goat owners do not realize the system is to be used in conjunction with fecal egg counts and the 5 Point Check* system. It should not be the sole source of parasite monitoring.

    Do I Need to be Trained in the FAMACHA* System?

    Many people use the checking of the lower eyelid to determine parasite load levels, unfortunately many are not trained.
    Proper training in the use of the system is ideal. The distribution of the system is under the auspices of The South African Veterinary Association. Distribution in the USA is through the laboratory of the University Of Georgia College Of Veterinary Medicine. Often through many Universities, classes are taught and certifications can be achieved. Upon completion of the class you can become certified in the FAMACHA* system, only then can an individual receive the FAMACHA* color chart card.

    The 5 Point Check* System
    The 5 Point Check System* was designed to be used with the FAMACHA* system. Using the observations made with five specific areas on the examination of the individual goat to evaluate internal parasites.

    The points include:
    1. The eyes to check for anemia using the FAMACHA*system
    2. Uses the BCS (Body Condition Score)
    3. Rear to check dag score scours etc
    4. Looking for Bottlejaw
    5. Nose- for possible bots

    Using the 5 Point Check* System helps to identify the possibility other parasites that may be present such as coccidia, other strongyles, flukes, bots

    Based on your observations of the FAMACHA* system along with the 5 Point Check* System you can better determine the necessary course of action. If you feel the observed condition may require anthelmintic (dewormer) treatment it is important to have a fecal analysis done so the proper dewormer can be used. Understanding the use of dewormers will help you in the treatment, management, and monitoring of your herd. Because the two systems are based on external observations it is important to follow with EPG Counts from a fecal analysis for accurate and targeted treatments.

    EPG Counts and the McMasters Method

    EPG- (EggsPerGram) EPG Counts are used to identify parasite infections in your goat. The number of eggs allows you to understand the parasite load your goat has. EPG Counts are very beneficial in helping the livestock owner know the parasite load levels within the herd as well as on individual animals.

    McMasters Method
    The McMasters Method uses a measured amount of feces and a measured amount of flotation solution to determine the EPG counts. The egg counts are determined by the counting the eggs in the chambers of the specially marked slides and multiplying the eggs seen. The multiplication of eggs is determined by the number of grams of feces.

    Why are EPG Counts Important?
    There are many benefits to knowing actual EPG counts.
    ~ allows for the individual goat to be treated if necessary
    ~ animals that are not parasite resistant may be identified
    ~ minimizes overuse of dewormers leading to drug resistance
    ~ allows herd owner to cull those animals that are parasite "problems"
    ~ monitoring allows for management practice adjustments that may be necessary

    Picture below is the FAMACHA card you recieve after taking a course. Colors reflected in picture are not represented well and only an actual card should be used.
    Wingin' it Farms FAMACHA used for parasite detection.JPG

    We were asked to evaluate this doe...
    Owner had always used Herbal dewormer and stated they had no parasite issues. This doe was being sold, the prospective purchasers asked us to evaluate.
    Wingin' it Farms FAMACHA (1).JPG

    As you can see her FAMACHA score was not good!
    Owner was shocked- we then ran a fecal using the McMasters Method
    Wingin' it Farms FAMACHA.JPG

    EPG Count 1600
    Below is something not often seen... doe eliminated and you could actually see a parasite! Circled in red.
    Usually you will never see parasites other than tapeworms.
    Wingin' it Farms evaluation FAMACHA & EPG.JPG

    Some think if they do not see parasites in the stool that the goat doesn't have any. This is not a good way of determination. Rarely are parasites seen. Fecal analysis is the most effective evaluation method along with FAMACHA.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    See additional Resource-
    The McMasters Method-Fecal Analysis
    Tutorial

Recent Reviews

  1. CrockpotGodess
    CrockpotGodess
    5/5,
    Very helpful for a beginner. I have read about this method several times and never found it fully explained in this mannor.
    1. Southern by choice
      Author's Response
      Thank you. If you have additional questions ask away. :)