When should I give clostridial vaccinations to my sheep/goats?


It depends. Recommendations vary. Other management practices may factor into timing. Some flocks/herds are at greater risk for clostridial diseases.

The most widely-accepted protocol is to vaccinate ewes/does 4 to 6 weeks before lambing/kidding so that they pass antibodies to their offspring via the colostrum. The immunity acquired through colostrum is temporary and lasts about 6-10 weeks, after which time lambs/kids should be vaccinated twice with CDT or Covexin®-8.

Rams, bucks, and mature wethers should also be given an annual booster. Ewes that were vaccinated as lambs, but not vaccinated in late pregnancy may still pass some immunity onto their offspring, but immunity will be maximized if ewes receive a booster prior to lambing/kidding. There is also evidence that vaccines are less effective in young lambs due to their immature immune systems. Their response to vaccines increases with age.

Clostridial vaccines may be less effective in goats. Their immune response to vaccination doesn’t seem to be as long lasting as it is in sheep. As a result, some goat producers vaccinate more often to achieve adequate protection. According to the most recently published NAHMS study, 31 percent of goat owners vaccinate twice yearly 4.4 percent vaccinated 3-4 times yearly.

Lambs/kids that are artificially-reared are at high risk for clostridial diseases. They often consume insufficient colostrum or colostrum that is deficient in antibodies. Pipestone Veterinary Services recommends vaccinating these lambs/kids every 1-2 weeks.

There is no real danger to more frequent clostridial vaccinations. Some flocks/herds are at greater risk. The withdrawal period for CDT and Covexin®-8 vaccinations is 21 days.


Additional resources
Getting the most out of your vaccination program (video) | Slides