So, Is Sevin Dust Safe for Goats?

If you own goats, you probably already know that they seem particularly prone to attack an infestation by insects.

Be it biting flies, lice, mites or some other bloodsucking creepy-crawly, most goats can’t seem to get a break.

four goats on the homestead
four goats on the homestead

This situation is exacerbated by the decided lack of goat specific treatment products on the market.

Taking to the internet in search of help will likely see a product called at sevin dust recommended for treating your goats. What is sevin dust, and is it safe for goats?

Sevin dust that contains a low concentration of carbaryl is generally considered safe for goats as a topical treatment. Goats should not be treated with liquefied sevin dust and owners are advised that carbaryl is toxic to mammals in sufficient quantity.

Sevin dust is a common product sold at garden, hardware and livestock stores around the country and much of the world.

Though it has plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is an adequate and reasonably safe treatment for goats, there is a lot more you’ll need to know before you attempt such a thing. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Sevin Dust?

Sevin dust (sometimes referred to as sevendust or 7-dust) is a powder or granule contact insecticide sold under the brand name Sevin, currently owned by GardenTech.

It is one of the most commonly used insecticides of its kind in the United States, and is often used to protect vegetables, fruits and other edible crops from insect predation.

It is a wide spectrum, nonspecific insecticide that kills pretty much everything, from ants and spiders to aphids, mites, weevils, lice, fleas and more.

This naturally makes it quite appealing to those who want to protect their farmland or gardens from being eaten up by pests and parasites, but it has also seen it pressed into service as a topical treatment for the infestation of annoying insects that might harm livestock.

Sevin Dust is Typically Associated with the Insecticide Carbaryl

Sevin dust is most commonly associated with the insecticide carbaryl, which is its active ingredient.

Carbaryl works by interfering with an insects’ nervous system, causing paralysis and eventual death.

It is this same mechanism of action that sees carbaryl used as a topical treatment for lice and mites in goats, as these insects are rapidly killed when their nervous systems are impacted in this way.

Hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough upon its introduction, carbaryl was quickly adopted as a key ingredient in many different kinds of insecticides.

In the United States, it is estimated that around 700,000 pounds of carbaryl are used every year.

Carbaryl is available in a variety of formulations, including powders, liquids, and granules. It can be applied to both indoor and outdoor areas, and it is relatively safe for humans and animals when used as directed.

However, carbaryl can be harmful if inhaled or swallowed in sufficient quantities, and it should always be used with caution.

Most Current Sevin Products Contain Zeta-Cypermethrin, Not Carbaryl

It is worth pointing out that you will see Sevin products, including sevin dust, and carbaryl mentioned in the same sentence virtually everywhere.

This is because it was carbaryl that was the long time active ingredient in various formulations.

However, it’s important to note that not all sevin dust products contain carbaryl – some instead use another active ingredient called zeta-cypermethrin.

This chemical functions in a similar way to carbaryl, but is considered to be more effective against certain types of pests and about as safe.

In fact, what most readers probably don’t know is that the current maker of Sevin, GardenTech, has halted the use of carbaryl in most branded products, replacing it with zeta-cypermethrin.

Accordingly, it is imperative that you always verify the active ingredient in any product marked “sevin”, and there are still plenty of legacy formulations or generic formulations sold as such or referred to as such out on the market.

Effects of Carbaryl on Insects

Carbaryl kills insects by targeting their central nervous systems. The active ingredient works to prevent the proper function of neurotransmitters, causing paralysis and eventually death in the insects.

Carbaryl is quite effective against a wide variety of insects, including common garden pests and parasites that attack livestock. This has made it a regular fixture in many insecticide products.

Unfortunately, carbaryl is an indiscriminate killer, and will just as readily kill off bees, moths, butterflies, ladybugs and other “good bugs” that might be present in your garden.

It is for this reason that some people have begun to shy away from using products containing carbaryl, opting instead for more specific and targeted insecticides.

Carbaryl is considered to be a relatively safe pesticide when used as directed, but it can be harmful if inhaled or swallowed in large quantities.

Carbaryl can also be toxic to fish and other aquatic animals, so care should always be taken to avoid runoff into ponds or streams.

Effects of Zeta-Cypermethrin

Zeta-cypermethrin, like carbaryl, is a wide-spectrum, non-specific insecticide. A scorched earth option, if you will.

Zeta-cypermethrin works in a similar fashion to carbaryl, targeting the central nervous system of insects to cause paralysis and eventual death.

Zeta-cypermethrin is considered to be more effective than carbaryl against certain types of pests, and about as safe for humans and animals. It is also going to kill good bugs as described above.

However, zeta-cypermethrin is far more toxic to fish and other aquatic animals, and particularly dangerous for cats, so extra care should be taken to avoid runoff when using products containing this chemical.

Both are Toxic to Mammals

The bottom line is that both carbaryl and zeta-cypermethrin are relatively effective pesticides, but they come with some significant risks.

Both chemicals can be harmful to humans and other mammals if inhaled or swallowed in large quantities. Both can cause skin reactions on contact.

These are not things you want to be in contact with, especially in high concentrations, and the same goes for your animals.

Improper use, using them too often, or screwing up dilution or application ratios could lead to severe poisoning.

The effects of poisoning vary depending on the amount of pesticide ingested and the size of the animal, but they can include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, paralysis, and death.

Poisoning from either chemical is serious business, so if you suspect that your pet has been overexposed to any formulation of sevin dust, it is important to seek professional medical help immediately. Timely intervention could save the life of your goat!

Carbaryl Sevin Dust has Been Used to Treat Goats

Okay, with all the warnings out of the way, can you safely and effectively use sevin dust to treat a goat that is suffering from mites or some other biting critter?

If the sevin dust contains carbaryl as the active ingredient, it appears you can, based on a large quantity of anecdotal experience. But you’ll need to follow some steps carefully:

First, you’ll want to use the powder only. Don’t use a liquid, don’t use any homebrew solution made from powder, and don’t try to use the granules as they are too big and too concentrated.

Second, any sevin dust should only have a 5% concentration of a carbaryl as the active ingredient or less.

Stronger formulations are too risky and might result in side effects or inadvertent poisoning of goats.

Lastly, don’t get your goats wet when applying the sevin dust. This makes absorption through the skin or accidental ingestion much more likely.

Apply only when your goats are dry and don’t apply it when there’s a chance they could get wet from rain or are about to take a bath.

The most successful application seems to be a light dusting all over the affected area of the goat, paying particular attention to their haunches and neck, and then thoroughly brushing it off of them.

Apply to this way, many owners report excellent success with rapidly eliminating all common insect pests that are feeding on or otherwise harassing their goats.

If your goats have a sore or hotspot that they are constantly nibbling at or licking, consider using a cone after treatment to help keep them from accidentally ingesting any of the powder.

As Always, Consult a Veterinarian if You Have Concerns

Deciding to use a product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling is always a risky venture, and this is especially dicey for goat owners since so few products on the market are made specifically for them.

But as always, no matter what course of action you decide to take to protect and treat your goats, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian that is expertly familiar with goats and their care.

They will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment for your specific situation and can provide guidance on how to properly apply any products you use.

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