No farm is complete without a goat. Gentle and curious, naughty and accident-prone, goats provide hours of amusement, weed out plants other livestock should not eat and can be used as a reliable source of meat or milk. More people are keeping goats and many have questions about their care. Goats are generally fairly hardy, but a few yearly vaccinations will help to keep them tip-top.
Vaccinating for tetanus may be one of the most important things you can do to care for your goats. Goats are notorious for injuring themselves in ways you haven't even begun to imagine and sometimes those injuries can be penetrated by the agent that causes tetanus. Tetanus vaccines should be given to pregnant goats during the fourth month of pregnancy so the antibodies can be transferred to their kids. The first year, a tetanus booster will be required three to four weeks later. After the first year, tetanus can be given annually -- it is easiest to do the whole herd at one time. Tetanus often comes packaged with vaccine for Enterotoxemia -- these combination vaccines are labeled as Clostridial CD/T, or simply CD/T.
Enterotoxemia is often known as "overeating disease" or "pulpy kidney disease" among goat producers. This disease has no cure and can cause significant loss in goat herds. The disease is caused by an organism called Clostridium perfringens types C & D. This vaccination should be given at the same time as Tetanus and they are often packaged together for convenience.
Often striking young kids, pneumonia vaccinations are commonly shortly after birth. They should be repeated in young kids at four to six months of age. Adults should be vaccinated with two dosages spaced two to four weeks apart. If your goats begin to limp shortly after a pneumonia vaccination, don't be alarmed. This is a normal side effect of the goat vaccine currently on the market. Refer to your veterinarian as to how regular the pneumonia vaccine should be administered to your herd.
How to Vaccinate
Vaccination is a simple procedure and many goat farmers will provide this service if you are hesitant and no goat vets are in the area. Vaccinations can be administered subcutaneously (SQ) or intramuscularly (IM). An SQ is administered by pinching the skin back in to a tent and injecting the vaccination in the area between the skin and the muscle. IMs are given by inserting the needle approximately one inch in to the muscle of the animal. In goats, SQs are more common than IMs because they cause much less tissue damage. Preferred sites for SQs in goats are in the loose tissue behind the "elbow" of the front limbs or in the triangular area near the neck. Have a vial of epinephrine nearby in case your goat has a reaction to the vaccine.