Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. This organism is very common in soil and in the manure of all animals. Bacterial spores enter the body through wounds following castration, ear tagging, disbudding, kidding, etc., resulting in signs of the disease 4 to 21 days later. The toxin affects the central nervous system.

Symptoms

  • Stiff muscles, spasms, flared nostrils, erect ears and elevated tail.
  • In addition, the affected animals have a difficult time opening their mouths, so the term lockjaw given to the disease.
  • saliva drooling from mouth
  • pricked ears
  • third eyelid prolapsed across the eye
  • eventually rigid paralysis and death in about 2 days.

The signs appear from a week up to 3 weeks from the time of infection. Kids showing tetanus from a difficult kidding develop signs at 7 to 10 days of age.

Treatment

Treatment is seldom successful, so the answer lies in prevention by vaccination. Locate the wound if possible. Look for nail punctures in the hooves. Open the wound up and flush out with antiseptic. Tetanus antitoxin is available commercially but is very expensive. Valuable animals may be treated by a veterinarian with high doses into the vein twice daily. The veterinarian would also treat the animal with highdoses of antibiotics injected into the muscle. Treatment is likely to be prolonged and very costly.

Prevention

All kids should receive two doses of vaccine: one at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and the second 4 to 6 weeks later. Booster doses are recommended every 6 months. Give previously vaccinated does their booster dose a month prior to kidding. This gives protection to the kids through the colostrum for 8 to 10 weeks. Tetanus vaccination is usually given in conjunction with vaccine for other clostridial diseases such as enterotoxaemia (as 2-in-1 vaccine).

Vaccinations for Tetanus

What vaccine should be used?

  1. Clostridium perfringens Types C and D +Tetanus Toxoid in one vaccine. This vaccine is labeled for goats.
  2. Multivalent clostridial vaccine (8-way vaccine)

What dosage should be used and when should goats be vaccinated?

Always read the instructions provided with the vaccine.

  1. Clostridium perfringens Types C and D + Tetanus

Dosage : 2 mL per animal, regardless of age and weight

When:

  • Bucks: Once a year
  • ¬†Breeding females: 4 to 6 weeks before kidding. By vaccinating does in late pregnancy, some immunity will be passed on to the kids through the colostrum.
  • Kids: If breeding females have been vaccinated before kidding, vaccinate kids at 8 weeks of age, then give a booster at 12 weeks of age.

If breeding females have not been vaccinated before kidding and you experience problems, vaccinate kids at 2 weeks of age, then give them a booster at 6 weeks of age.

  1. Multivalent clostridial vaccine (Covexin8)

Dosage: 5 mL per animal, regardless of age and weight. Kids get 5 mL initially, then a 2 mL booster 6 weeks later.

When:

  • Bucks: Once a year
  • ¬†Breeding females: 4 to 6 weeks before kidding. By vaccinating does in late pregnancy, some immunity will be passed on to the kids through the colostrum.
  • Kids: If breeding females have been vaccinated before kidding, vaccinate kids at week 8 to 12 of age, then give them a booster at week 16 to 18 of age.

If breeding females have not been vaccinated before kidding and you experience problems, vaccinate kids at 4 weeks of age, then give them a booster at 10 weeks of age.

How should I give the injections and where?

Both Clostridium perfringens Types C D /Tetanus and multivalent clostridial vaccines are given in sub-cutaneous or intramuscular injections. Sub-cutaneous injections are favored because of the greater tissue damage at the injection site from intramuscular injections.

For sub-cutaneous injections, pinch loose skin between thumb and index finger high on the neck (as close to the head as possible) and insert the needle. Make sure that the needle is under the skin and does not stick out on the other of the pinched skin.

Is there a slaughter withdrawal time?

Yes, there is a 21 day waiting period between vaccination and slaughter for both vaccines.

The bottom line is sickness in one goat or in the whole herd can cost much more when sick animals have to be treated compared to the cost of prevention. Some health problems cannot even be treated. Thus, prevention is the only sensible approach to goat herd disease management.

Undesired reactions

Some dramatic side effects may be seen with vaccinations in goats. Anaphylactic shock can occur directly after the injection. The animal may fall down, gasping for breath and frothing at the mouth. These reactions often last only a short while, but occasionally the effects are fatal.