Vaccinations are an integral part of a flock health management program. They provide cheap insurance against diseases that commonly affect sheep and goats. Probably, the only universally recommended vaccine for sheep and goats is CDT.  CDT toxoid provides three-way protection against enterotoxemia (overeating disease) caused byClostridium perfringins types C and D and tetanus (lockjaw) caused by Clostridium tetani.  Seven and 8-way combination vaccines for additional clostridial diseases such as blackleg and malignant edema are available, but generally not necessary for small ruminants.

Enterotoxemia type C, also called hemorrhagic enteritis or “bloody scours,” mostly affects lambs and kids during their first few weeks of life, causing a bloody infection of the small intestine. It is oftenrelated to indigestion and is predisposed by a change in feed, such as beginning creep feeding or a sudden increase in milk supply. Enterotoxemia type D, also called “pulpy kidney disease,” usually affects lambs and kids over one month of age, generally the largest, fastest growing lambs/kids in the flock. It is precipitated by a sudden change in feed that causes the organism, which is already present in the young animal’s gut to proliferate, resulting in a toxic reaction. Type D is most commonly observed in animals that are consuming high concentrate diets, but can also occur in lambs/kids nursing heavy milking dams.

Direction for use

As in other food animals, the veterinarian should be aware of the potential of injected vaccines to induce injection site lesions including blemishes in show animals. Reaction sites that require trimming at slaughter may result in a significant financial penalty. In general, subcutaneous injection in the caudolateral neck region is preferred, with an injection behind the elbow over the ribs as a possible alternative. Do not administer vaccines over the loin or hindquarters where the valuable meat cuts are located. As always, animals must be properly restrained to minimize struggling and to ensure proper delivery of the full dose of vaccine. The use of excessively long needles over 0.5 inches long should be avoided and they should be changed often. Remember, the needle used to withdraw vaccine from the bottle should not be used for injection.


For the vaccination of cattle and sheep against diseases caused by C. chauvoei (black leg), C. haemolyticum (bacillary hemoglobinuria), C. novyi Type B (black disease or infectious necrotic hepatitis), C. perfringens Type B (lamb dysentery), Type C (hemorrhagic enterotoxemia), Type D (pulpy kidney), C. septicum (malignant edema) and C. tetani (tetanus).

Dosage and administration

Cattle: In order that a balanced response to vaccination is obtained, a primary course of two injections of 4 mL each should be given with an interval of 6 weeks between injections. To maintain a constant high level of immunity, booster injections should be administered at intervals of 6 months, or when outbreaks are seasonal, at least 2 weeks before the anticipated outbreak. Calves vaccinated under 3 months of age should be revaccinated at 4-6 months of age. Calves vaccinated at 3 months of age or older should be revaccinated 6 weeks later. Inject subcutaneously with strict aseptic precautions.

Sheep: On being vaccinated for the first time, all classes of sheep must be given a 4 mL dose followed by a further 2 mL dose 6 weeks later. This primary course should be completed at least 2 weeks before maximum immunity is required. This may be either a period of risk or, in pregnant ewes, during lambing. Revaccination with 2 mL is required at six-month intervals for continuous protection, but where there is no period of risk in the winter annual revaccination is all that is necessary. In lambing flocks, pregnant ewes should be injected 2 weeks before lambing is due to commence. They will then be able to pass on enough antibodies in the colostrum to enable their lambs to be passively protected for the first 12-16 weeks of life, provided the lambs suck normally within the first 12 hours of birth. Replacements born of vaccinated ewes should receive the first dose of the primary course at 10-12 weeks of age. Administration is by subcutaneous injection. Injections should be made through an area of clean, dry skin, over the chest wall, behind the shoulder, observing strict aseptic precautions.

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