Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells that deprives the body of oxygen.
Symptoms can include weakness, lack of energy, loss of appetite, loss of weight, depression and pale color of inside of the lower eye lid and other mucus membranes. It is possible to check the eyelid color using the FAMACHA method, which is especially useful where Barber pole worms, or Haemonchus contortus are likely.
Anemia is not exclusively caused by parasites, there are other causes that need to be considered too. Sometimes a blood disease, asaplasmosis, is a possibility, but it will likely be best to rule out internal parasites such as worms, liver flukes, coccidia protozoa, and external parasites such as lice & ticks first. A nutritional deficiency may also be a factor, so bear this in mind too.
When checking for parasites, nothing is as good as sending a stool sample to the vet but the best quick at-home check is to pull out the lower eyelid and check its color. You want to see a nice, rich salmon color. If it is pale pink, or white, your goat most likely has worms.
A goat with severe anemia will eventually go off its feed, and will need supplementary nutrition in addition to treatment for the anemia, in order to fully recover. Offer the goat high protein things to try and tempt its appetite; green leaves, pine needles, alfalfa hay, chaffhaye, whatever you can coax it to nibble. Remember to keep it adequately hydrated; if water with molasses or gatorade doesn’t tempt it, you will need to be giving subcutaneous fluids.
Maintaining an effective internal & external parasite program and providing a free choice, high quality loose mineral made expressly for goats (including copper, iron & cobalt) should be the first stop on the way to prevention.
For treatment, the cause of the problem must first be established. Begin with checking for parasites, and work outwards from there. Treat the cause, and then provide supplementary care to assist the goat in recovering. The use of injectable iron, such as Ferrodex, may be necessary in severe cases, but dosage must be carefully monitored since iron can be toxic and overdosing can suppress vitamin E. Treat with Vitamin B Complex, Red Cell and electrolytes to aid recovery.
Both parsley and kelp are excellent natural supplements for anemia. The Natural Care Book by Pat Colby also suggests feeding fish meal to raise iron in the diet as it is very beneficial and safer than meat derivatives.