Georgia Dairy Goat Breeders Association (GDGBA)
Promoting Dairy Goats ~ Since 1976
by: Pamela G. Pamell, DVM, PhD Diplomate, ACVP
Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center, PO Box 102406 Columbia, SC 29224-2406
[from: The Dairy Goat Digest ~(SCDGA, Inc) 12/00]
Clostridium perfringes (types C and D) and Clostridium tetani are bacteria that cause two different diseases in goats, enterotoximia and tetanus respectively. Enterotoximia is also commonly known as over eating disease and usually occurs in the healthiest, biggest kids from the best milking does, or from a sudden change in type of feed or change in the feeding schedule. Stress from a variety of causes, including weather changes, can also precipitate an outbreak of enterotoxemia. Sudden death or illness with diarrhea for one or two days usually indicates the possibility of this disease.
Tetanus is usually seen following puncture wound injury, hoof trimming, castrating, disbudding or dehorning or other surgical procedures, and may even develop following kidding (in the doe or the kid). The condition can develop within days following the incident but has been known to develop as far out as one or two months after an injury or procedure. Rigid stiff walking, collapse, seizures, and death generally describes the course of the disease.
Protection against these two diseases can be gained by proper vaccination of kids and adults using commercial products prepared specifically with these organisms in mind. These vaccine products often bear a label containing the C-D-T inscription in the name. Some herdsmen use cattle products that have been prepared against Clostridium tetani and Clostridium perfingens but also included components against other clostridial bacteria (Clostridium chauvoei, Clostridium novyi , Clostridium septicum, Clostridium sordelli, etc) that cause significant disease and death in cattle.
Studies have shown that the simple C/D/T preperations produce BETTER protection in goats that the seven way Clostridia vaccines that are most frequently used in cattle
Although goats are very rare occasion can acquire diseases such as black leg and malignant edema (two other disease caused by other clostridial baccteria), these occurrences are far more infrequent than outbreak of either tetanus or enterotoxemia do not warrant vaccinations in goats.
Bottom Line: When vaccinating goats, use products that are specific for C/D/T and not the seven way cattle preparation in order to achieve the BEST protection against the two clostridial diseases that affect goats most frequently. Vaccinate does 3-4 weeks prior to kidding to allow optimum protective immunity to develop and to be transferred to the kids through the colostrum. Vaccinate kids at 3-4 weeks of age and then again about one month later. Kids from unvaccinated does, or does with unknown vaccination status should be vaccinated at birth, then again at 3-4 weeks of age. All adults and juvenile goats should be re-vaccinated regularly about every six months.