Inside: The CD&T vaccination for goats: should you give it? Learn what it means, what it’s for and what can happen if you don’t give it each year. You can find more information in our Raising Goats Series.
In my first years of goat ownership, I didn’t vaccinate my goats. But it is recommended for several reasons.
It would be a good idea for all goat owners to take the time to understand what vaccinations are needed and why.
Let’s dive in and look at what the CD/T or CD&T vaccination for goats is all about.
If you have a pregnant goat you will want to vaccinate with CD&T 4 weeks before the due date.
The three letters C, D, and T may not ring any bells, so what is CD&T?
CD&T is a vaccine for Enterotoxemia and Tetanus.
- Enterotoxemia is caused by two strains of bacteria called Clostridium perfringens (type C + D)
- It is also called “Overeating Disease”: This bacteria is present in small amounts in a goat but when grain is increased, a protein supplement or a milk replacer is given or the goat is on new spring growth, the bacteria is given all the sugar, starch and protein needed to exponentially grow, causing toxins to be released in harmful and deadly amounts.
- Tetanus: A wound becomes infected with the tetanus bacteria
- The kids will be provided with tetanus immunity through the colostrum of the milk after the doe is vaccinated.
Enterotoxemia can be very scary. It can progress so quickly that you may find your sheep or goat dead without having had any previous signs of the disease.
- With that said, Prevention is key!
- Prevention is more likely to be successful than trying to treat the disease
- Give the CD&T Vaccine
- Practice safe feed management:
- Grains, silage or haylage, lush pasture, milk or milk replacer, and protein supplements and even complete feeds (pellets designed to be fed to induce gain in lambs or kids) all can trigger this disease if fed in excess.
- If you do feed the above, feed your animals roughage first. They will fill up on hay and have a lower chance of over-stuffing themselves on the feeds that may trigger the disease. You may also want to split up the high risk feed into several smaller portions throughout the day.
- And always, always make feed changes slowly. Do this by slowly increasing the amount given over several days time.
- If you are feeding your goats high risk feed, watch your animals. If feeding several animals at once:
- Watch for dominance. You don’t want one animal pushing around the others and getting most of the feed.
- When turning your animals out to pasture:
- Day one: ten minutes time
- Day two: 20 minutes time
- Each day increase the time the animal is allowed out on pasture. In about one week, the animal should do well on pasture for a 24 hour period.
- Symptoms to watch for:
- An animal going abruptly off feed and becoming lethargic
- Showing signs of:
- Stomach pain
- Kicking belly
- Laying down and getting up repeatedly
- Laying on their sides
- Panting and crying out
- Diarrhea may develop and blood may be visible in the loose stool
- May lose ability to stand, lay on their side, extending their legs. Because of the effect of the toxins on the brain, the animal will extend their head and neck over their withers. When this sign is seen, death will commonly occur in minutes to hours.
- Contact your vet
- Your vet may treat a mild case with:
- Oral electrolyte solutions
- Or antisera (solution of concentrated antibodies that neutralize the toxins the bacteria produces).
- Your vet may treat a severe case with:
- Intravenous fluids
- Antibiotic therapy
- And possibly supplemental oxygen.
Tetanus is another disease none of us wants to deal with in our animals. And when it comes right down to it, you will be happy that you vaccinated your goat instead of dealing with the bacterium Clostridium tetani.
As shown below, this nasty bacteria is not one you want to mess with. Not only can a goat get tetanus through a cut on a fence or sharp object by just playing around, you can also be the culprit. If you trim your goat’s hooves and draw blood, this allows an opening for the bacteria to enter and wreak havoc. Deep puncture wounds are of the biggest concern because the bacteria is sensitive to oxygen.
- Prevention is key:
- Annual vaccination
- Symptoms to watch for:
- Muscle stiffness
- Unsteady gait
- Drooping eyelids
- Changed voice
- Erect ears and tail
- Inability to eat or drink.
- The signs often get progressively worse and convulsions may occur.
- Death occurs from asphyxiation secondary to respiratory paralysis.
- High doses of penicillin
- Tetanus anti-toxin
- *But these treatments often fail
- Find the initial site of injury
- Infiltrate the area with tetanus antitoxin before cleaning the would to reduce the chance of the toxin being absorbed further while manipulating the damaged tissue.
- *Excessive tissue manipulation may make the animal dramatically worse.
- Open the wound or infection site to the air
- Infiltrate with penicillin
I don’t know about you, but nothing about these diseases sound pleasant.
Mark your calendar each year and give your goats the CD&T vaccine.
Have you ever had any experiences with a goat getting Enterotoxemia or Tetanus?
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I am not a doctor or veterinarian. The information herein is my opinion only and is not meant to replace professional, veterinary, or medical opinion. Any products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. Statements made on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA.