Clostridial Disease Prevention by Vaccination in Lambs and Kids

Amy Barkley, Livestock Specialist
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

June 12, 2024
Clostridial Disease Prevention by Vaccination in Lambs and Kids

Clostridial Disease Prevention by Vaccination in Lambs and Kids

By Amy Barkley, Livestock Specialist SWNYDLFC

 Much of this information was originally shared by Dr. tatiana Stanton and Dr. Mary Smith.


Tetanus can be a devastating disease. It can kill a healthy animal in 3-21 days, depending on the exposure level and type of bacteria. The bacteria the cause the illness are found in soil, and enter an animal through wounds. In small ruminants, common wounds include the sides of the head following disbudding, where the testicles attach to the body following castration, the tail following docking, and the navel following birth. There is no way to prevent the bacteria from living in your soil, so it's a good idea to take steps to prevent disease. Vaccination is a solid preventative measure that can save you trouble down the road, seeing that antitoxins aren't reliable in most production scenarios.

Besides the bacteria that cause lockjaw, Clostridium perfringens C & D can cause what we call "overeating disease" or "pulpy kidney disease". This bacteria is found in the healthy intestinal tracts and tends to cause issues with a sudden change in feed, especially diets heavy in grain, causing a toxic reaction. Unlike tetanus, which can affect any animal in the flock, this disease usually occurs in the largest, fastest-growing ones. This disease does not respond well to antitoxins, either, so vaccination is a key to prevention.

Does and ewes can transfer immunity to their offspring shortly after birth through colostrum. Immunity only passes through the colostrum, and not through the placenta. As part of a herd health plan, does and ewes should receive at least two boosters of the vaccine 3-4 weeks apart to build the initial immunity, followed by an annual vaccine at least 10 days prior to birthing (ideally 3-6 weeks). This stringent timeline is required because the dam needs time to build her own immunity before passing the immune cells to her offspring through the colostrum. The recommended type of vaccine includes protection against Clostridium perfringens C & D as well as a tetanus toxoid.

For the kids or lambs themselves, so long as they receive sufficient colostrum, they will start their booster vaccination program between 6-10 weeks of age. They will also need to be provided Clostridium perfringens C & D and a tetanus toxoid. Following the initial vaccination, they'll receive the second booster 3-4 weeks after the first. If you are feeding a grain-heavy diet, talk with your veterinarian about increasing the number of booster doses for added protection.

If you are unsure whether or not your lambs or kids received sufficient colostrum or if they're from an unvaccinated dam, they should receive the tetanus antitoxin shot shortly after birth and prior to tail docking, disbudding, or castration. Very young animals aren't able to build immunity very well until they're around 6-10 weeks of age, which is why vaccination isn't effective enough to provide protection until this time. The antitoxin helps prevent the bacteria from taking hold until they are old enough to build their own immunity through vaccination.

 

Dr. Mary Smith shares the following reminders for vaccinating for tetanus:

- Subcutaneous injection works best, so long as the vaccine you're using is labeled for it. The vaccine will result in lumps, which are longer lasting if the vaccine is placed in the skin or muscle.

- Vaccinate high on the neck, and work with your veterinarian to learn the proper technique.

- Do not vaccinate wet animals as it predisposes them to abscesses

- Refrigerate vaccines

- Swab top of bottle with alcohol if dust on it (killed vaccines)

- Only a sterile needle ever goes in the stock bottle

- New needle for each goat if possible

- Do not mix vaccines with other vaccines or drugs

- Use a clean syringe for each animal

- Read label for meat and milk withdrawals

- Read label for other safety concerns

- Keep written records of vaccination dates

- Dispose of needles, syringes, empty or unused vials properly using a glass jar or biohazard container

- Epinephrine is the antidote for anaphylactic reactions. The ruminant dose is 0.5 to 1.0 ml/100 pounds of the 1:1000 product IM or SC.

 

For more information on common clostridial disease, please visit the College of Veterinary Medicine's Website.




Field Crops

Field Crops

Dairy

Dairy

Business

Business

Livestock

Livestock

Grains

Grains

Upcoming Events

2024 Aurora Farm Field Day

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 1, 2024
Aurora, NY

The annual Cornell Field Crop Research Field Day will be Thursday, August 1 at the Musgrave Research Farm, Aurora, N.Y. The program features walking and hay wagon tours in the morning and afternoon. 

View 2024 Aurora Farm Field Day Details

2024 Broiler Field Day at Laughing Earth Farm

August 19, 2024 : 2024 Broiler Field Day at Laughing Earth Farm
Cropseyville, NY

Join us for a free field day to explore broiler production, processing, and finances. Zack and Annie Metzger will be our hosts. They have run this 200 year-old small diversified farm for 8 years. They process their poultry in a 20C kitchen, where they produce value-added products like sausage and dehydrated chicken feet.

View 2024 Broiler Field Day at Laughing Earth Farm Details

2024 Broiler Field Day at Majestic Farm

August 20, 2024 : 2024 Broiler Field Day at Majestic Farm
Mountaindale, NY

Join us for a free field day to explore broiler production, processing, and finances. Brett and Sara Budde will be our hosts. They raise slow-growth organic broilers on their diversified farm in large flocks on woodland pasture. Their birds are processed into whole birds, parts, and chicken sausage.

View 2024 Broiler Field Day at Majestic Farm Details

Announcements

No announcements at this time.

NEWSLETTER   |   CURRENT PROJECTS   |   IMPACT IN NY   |   SPONSORSHIP  |  RESOURCES   |   SITE MAP