In today’s political climate, vaccines are controversial but there are a couple that are highly recommended for goats in our area.
CD/T: This vaccine protects against a couple types of diseases that are found in the soil, as well as “overeating disease”. The “T” stands for Tetanus, and this is the same kind of tetanus for which people are vaccinated. There are countless ways for the Tetanus bacteria to enter the bloodstream of a goat, and kids who have been recently disbudded or wethered are the most vulnerable. The “CD” stands for Clostridium Perfingens C&D. These are 2 types of Clostridium infections that affect the rumen of the goat and kill very rapidly. It is a horrifically painful death, and the infection is nearly impossible to reverse once it takes hold. The CD/T vaccine should be given annually to adult goats. There is a special vaccination schedule for kids which we will discuss next.
Research has shown us that the very best way to protect new kids is to vaccinate the dam 4-6 weeks prior to giving birth. The dam will produce antibodies that will be present in the colostrum and milk that the new kid ingests. Those kids should get CD/T boosters again at 60 days, and ideally at 90 days also. If the kid is NOT getting milk from a vaccinated doe, that kid is NOT protected. Please vaccinate these kids ASAP.
No matter the age of the goat, the dose is always 2ml. It is given subcutaneously (under the skin), and there are a number of YouTube videos that show how to do this. It is a good idea to give the vaccine in the same spot on every goat. Many goats have a local reaction to the vaccine and if you find a lump on your goat that corresponds with “your” vaccine location, it is usually safe to assume the lump is from the injection.
CD/T is available at most feed stores and vet supply stores. A 10 dose vial will run about $8 and last 6 months in your refrigerator. Syringes can also be purchased with the vaccine.
Please do not confuse the CD/T vaccine with the C&D Antitoxin. These are two VERY different medications. Don’t assume that the feed store personnel knows the difference either. C&D Antitoxin can be given at the onset of a suspected Clostridium infection and MAY save the goat’s life. However, it can only be given once in the animal’s lifetime. Repeating the Antitoxin will result in anaphylactic shock that will kill the animal.
Rabies Vaccine: Goats can be vaccinated for Rabies just like dogs and cats can be vaccinated. Depending on your local risk, you may consider vaccinating your goats. Keep in mind that squirrels, raccoons and skunks can carry rabies, so it isn’t only a predator issue. Rabies is transmitted via saliva, so if your goats are interacting with people a lot, it is a responsible thing to vaccinate for Rabies.
Goats should be vaccinated annually for rabies. Like CD/T, a doe vaccinated in the last 4-6 weeks of pregnancy will pass the antibodies to her kids through the colostrum. Goat kids should get their first Rabies vaccine at 12 weeks. In the state of Colorado, it is legal for people to vaccinate their own livestock without a veterinarian. Make sure to purchase a livestock-specific rabies vaccine from a reputable seller. Vaccines need to kept cold, so it can be a challenge to order online. Valley Vet and Premier 1are both good sources to purchase vaccines and other medications. If you are local to the Colorado Springs area, Pikes Peak Animal Supply often has the Rabies Vaccine in stock. If you are not confident about vaccinating your own goats, reach to your local vet or goat community.