Raising Goats For Dummies
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If raising goats is part of your green lifestyle, you can make yourself more sustainable by giving your goats vaccines yourself. Just what vaccines do your goats need to be healthy? Well, most veterinarians recommend that, at a minimum, you vaccinate goats for clostridium perfringens types C and D and tetanus (CDT). This vaccine prevents tetanus and enterotoxemia that's caused by two different bacteria. Yet many breeders don't vaccinate their goats with this or any other vaccine, for different reasons.

Vaccinating for enterotoxemia or another disease doesn't always prevent the disease. But in some cases, if a vaccinated goat does get the disease, it will be shorter and less severe, and the goat is less likely to die. And the cost of vaccinating is minor compared with treating the disease or paying to replace a dead goat.

A number of vaccines are used to prevent disease in goats. Most of them are approved for use in sheep but not goats. That doesn't mean that they aren't effective or can't be used in goats but that they haven't been formally tested on goats.

Most goat owners with small herds usually don't need any vaccines other than CDT. In areas where rabies is rampant, some veterinarians recommend that you vaccinate your goats for rabies, even though it isn't approved for goats. It is a good idea to work with a veterinarian to determine what is right for your circumstances.

Here are the common vaccines for goats:

Goat Vaccinations
Vaccine Disease Protected Against When to Give
CDT Enterotoxemia and Tetanus Does: Fourth month of pregnancy Kids: 1 month old and one month later All: Booster annually
Pneumonia Pasteurella multocida or Mannheimia Haemolytica pneumonia Two doses 2–4 weeks apart
CLA Cornybacterium pseudotuberculosis Kids: 6 months old, 3 weeks later and annual booster
Rabies Rabies Annually
Chlamydia Chlamydia abortion First 28–45 days of pregnancy
Soremouth Orf Annually
All goat vaccines are formulated to be and so must be given as injections. Follow these guidelines when giving a vaccination:
  • To minimize the chance of an adverse reaction, vaccinate goats only when they are in good health.

  • Do not use expired or cloudy vaccines.

  • Use a 20-gauge, 1-inch or 3/4-inch needle on an adult, or a 1/2-inch needle on a kid.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage.

  • Use a new, sterile needle and syringe on each goat.

  • Do not mix vaccines.

  • For the best effect, do not delay booster shots.

  • Keep a record of vaccinations given.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Cheryl K. Smith has raised a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf and Oberian dairy goats under the herd name Mystic Acres since 1998. She is the owner of karmadillo Press and is the author of Goat Health Care, Goat Midwifery, The Best of Ruminations Goat Milk and Cheese Recipes, and Raising Goats: Some Essentials.

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