goats disease

Goat production: Keep your goats disease free

Vaccination programmes and dipping and dosing of small stock is not the total solution to keeping your flocks healthy and your goats disease free. Healthy animals are stronger and less susceptible to disease; so stockmen must manage and feed as a primary health care measure.

If goats are kidding in a contaminated area, disinfect the umbilical cord with iodine. It’s probably good practice to make this a standard procedure in your flock. Iodine is cheap and this simple practice prevents kid mortalities.

The does need to be vaccinated against Pasteurellosis, E. coli, pulpy kidney and tetanus, four to six weeks before the start of the kidding season. The immunity the mothers build up through the vaccine is passed on to kids through the colostrum (the first day’s milk). Colostrum is critical if you are to raise healthy goats.


Colostrum contains vital antibodies that protect young animals in their first months of life. But it is only properly absorbed in the first hours of life so the farmer must make sure that the kid suckles properly soon after birth.

Antibodies in the colostrum are most efficiently absorbed through the stomach lining in the first hour or two hours after birth. After this, the ability to absorb the antibodies begins to decline.

There is a significant drop in absorption 12 hours after birth and after 24 hours the window closes and there is no further ability to absorb colostrum. If the kid has not drunk colostrum during the first 24 hours of its life, its chances of survival are not high.

Young goats can be vaccinated at six weeks. Vets always recommend a vaccination against pulpy kidney. Coccidiosis can cause diarrhoea and death in older kids but the diagnosis has to be confirmed by an expert before treatment. Many drugs are available for coccidiosis, the cheapest of which are the sulphonamides.

Young goats can be vaccinated at six weeks.

Animals lose water and salts from the diarrhoea and can die of dehydration. To rehydrate give them 1 teaspoon of salt to half a litre of water. If you have it, add a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the solution.

Kids start to graze two weeks after birth and can become infested with parasites as early as six to eight weeks. There are good remedies for round worms and tapeworms. Check for external parasites and take dung samples to your local vet or extension officer to get advice about control measures.

Goats disease
When a doe has twins or triplets there may not be enough quality colostrum to go around. It’s a good idea to store colostrum for times like this. If you can’t store, get colostrum from a ewe that is kidding at the same time to compensate for the loss.


MSD Animal Health’s Multivax P (a killed vaccine) protects against pulpy kidney, malignant oedema, blackquarter, tetanus and pasteurellosis. Multivax P is a subcutaneous vaccination injected into the loose skin on the side of the upper neck. Do not use alcohol or disinfectants at the vaccine site.

Work out the number of doses you need and compare them to the doses in the bottle so that you don’t waste vaccine. It may be worth your while to wait until you have enough animals so that you use all the doses in the bottle. You cannot store the vaccine once you have punctured the rubber seal.

There are two doses in the primary vaccination course; 2ml subcutaneously repeated after four to six weeks. Kids born to vaccinated does have colostral protection for a month against Pasteurella haemolytica (broncho-pneumonia). They have colostral protection for 12 weeks against the clostridial diseases (pulpy kidney, blackquarter, tetanus).

Inject kids born to unvaccinated ewes with 2ml of the vaccine during the first week of life and again with 2ml four to six weeks later.

Ovilis Enzovax is an Intervet product to prevent abortion and stillbirth. This vaccine is a reconstituted, live vaccine and must be used within two hours of opening and reconstituting. When you reconstitute a vaccine you mix a powder plug with a watery solution supplied by the manufacturers.

Ovilis® Enzovax should not be handled by pregnant women because it can cause foetal death and abortion.

COvilis® Enzovax is indicated for the active immunisation of susceptible breeding female sheep (and goats) as an aid in the prevention of abortion and stillbirth caused by the Chlamydia abortus infection.

Pregnant does that abort repeatedly can become chronically infected with Chlamydia without showing clinical signs.

Do not vaccinate pregnant animals or ewes being treated with antibiotics, especially tetracyclines. Do not vaccinate less than four weeks before mating.

Goats disease
Some vaccines may not be given to pregnant animals, but it is important to vaccinate appropriately so that the vaccine antibodies can be passed on to the newborn kids through the mother’s colostrum.

Any live vaccine has to be handled with care – avoid needlestick injuries and wear gloves. If you can’t wear gloves or you don’t have any, just be extra careful. If you needlestick yourself, go to the doctor and tell him or her that you have given yourself a needlestick injury with a live chlamydial vaccine. The conventional treatment for this is a course of tetracyclines.

Other live vaccines should not be administered within four weeks of the administration of Ovilis Enzovax. Do not open and reconstitute the vaccine until ready to start vaccination.

The dose is a single injection of 2ml of reconstituted vaccine by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection. Animals should be re-vaccinated after 2 years. Doe kids may be vaccinated from five months and older females should be vaccinated during the four month period prior to mating.

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