Vaccinations serve well as preventative measures in sheep or goats’ health care. Since these ruminant mammals are closely related in their general make-up, they’re easily treated for the same diseases. Delayed vaccinations or missed boosters can lead to spread of disease or, in some instances, death. The most important types of vaccinations for your flock/herd will depend on your environmental risk factors and needs.
The most important vaccine you should give is a combination vaccine for Clostridium Perfringens C and D (enterotoxemia) and Clostridium Tetani (tetanus). Enterotoxemia is caused when bacteria normally found in the gut and environment produce excess toxins in the animals gut due to dietary changes or overeating. Tetanus is caused by a bacterium that enters through a wound or broken skin, which then attacks the brain and spinal cord. While there are treatment options, both diseases are difficult to treat and the chance of successful treatment is low.
Other vaccines to discuss with your veterinarian are Contagious Ecthyma (sore mouth/orf), Rabies, and Chlamydia (sheep). The need for these vaccines will be based on the area you live in and the status of your herd.
column by DR. KATIE HENNESSY
BIO: Dr. Katie Hennessy graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 with a degree in large animal health and equine medicine. After completing an advanced internship and working as an associate veterinarian, she is currently practicing at Polk Equine, LLC. Her expertise ranges from small and exotic creatures to large animals, specializing in equine medicine.