Vaccination schedule


Suggested Goat & Sheep Vaccination Schedule

Lambs and Kids: Vaccinate for C, D and T (Clostridium perfringens type C & D plus tetanus) by 8 weeks of age, with a booster dose 4 weeks later. If blackleg is prevalent in your area, Covexin 8 can be used instead, to protect against blackleg as well as overeating disease and tetanus. Vaccinate for pasteurella caused by Mannheimia haemolytica at 8-12 weeks of age, with a booster at 12-16 weeks of age. Elective vaccines to consider based on risk of exposure include those protecting against Caseous lymphadenitis and Sore mouth.

Ewes, Rams, Does and Bucks: Vaccinate for the same diseases mentioned above. If previously vaccinated, booster with one dose annually, preferably 2-4 weeks prior to giving birth so that protection is passed through the colostrum to the newborns. In addition, breeding stock may be vaccinated for reproductive diseases caused by Chlamydia and Campylobacter.

Vaccinating Goats Against Enterotoxemia and Tetanus: Is it Necessary?

    • It is generally advised that all goats be vaccinated against overeating disease (enteroxemia) and tetanus. Both of these diseases are caused by clostridial bacteria present in animals and the environment. Goats kept on marginal pastures and/or not fed grain may be at much lower risk for overeating disease, but they are susceptible to tetanus. Vaccines used for these diseases usually provide protection for both diseases. These combination vaccines simplify herd preventive health programs and decrease costs.

What is overeating disease (enterotoxemia)?

    • Overeating disease is also known as enterotoxemia. It is an acute and often fatal disease affecting goats of all ages. The disease tends to be more deadly in young kids, and often in those which are the heaviest or fastest gaining. Overeating disease is caused by the bacteria Clostridium perfringens types C and D. These bacteria are commonly found in the soil, and are also present in the intestines of most normal goats.
    • The deadly action of these clostridial bacterial organisms is related to the bacteria’s ability to produce toxins which cause shock and nervous symptoms (type D), or that cause inflammation of the lining of the gut and diarrhea with blood (type C).
    • Under appropriate conditions, the clostridial bacteria in the gut rapidly grow to high levels and produce and release their deadly toxins. Most conditions favoring clostridial bacterial growth are related to access to a grain or “rich” feed, especially when the animal is not accustomed to the feed. Sudden access to grain or a richer diet or any dietary changes, especially to a “richer” diet, favors clostridial bacterial growth in the intestines. Changes in feeding programs must be gradual, with a week or two or more allowed for a change from one type of feed to another.
    • It is also important to avoid over-consumption by kids, for example, after they have become excessively hungry.

What are the symptoms of overeating disease?

    • There are many different signs associated with overeating disease. Goats can be found dead. Other signs include being down and/or having neurological signs. These can include twitching, star gazing, teeth grinding, fever, swollen stomach, diarrhea with blood, convulsions, and death within a few hours.

What is tetanus?

    • Tetanus is a neurological disease caused by a toxin which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. This organism is very common in soil and in the manure of animals. Bacterial spores enter the body through wounds following castration, ear tagging, disbudding, kidding, etc., resulting in signs of the disease 4 to 21 days later. The toxin affects the central nervous system.

What are the symptoms of tetanus?

    • Signs include stiff muscles, spasms, flared nostrils, erect/stiff ears and elevated tail. In addition, the affected animals have a difficult time opening their mouths, so the term “lockjaw” has been given to the disease. Animals can be hyper-responsive to stimuli. Eventually, the affected animals can go down and die.

What vaccine should be used?

    • There are several vaccines available for clostridial disease. A product labeled for goats is recommended. In case of any problems, you are always in a better position if the product is labeled for your specific use.
  1. C-D-T or 3-way vaccines: Clostridium perfringens Types C and D +Tetanus Toxoid in one vaccine. Choose one labeled for goats.
  2. Multivalent clostridial vaccine (such as 8-way vaccine)
    • One example of a multivalent product is Covexin 8, which has a sheep label. This product protects the animal for clostridial diseases other than enterotoxemia and tetanus. Although blackleg and malignant edema are common and costly infections in sheep and cattle, they are uncommon in goats. Producers sometimes have reported more adverse reactions with the use of a product like this. A multivalent product may be preferable in herds which have had problems with other clostridial diseases such as blackleg and malignant edema (gas gangrene).

What dosage should be used and when should goats be vaccinated?

      • Use the product as it is recommended on the instructions provided with the vaccine.
        1. Clostridium perfringens Types C and D + Tetanus (C-D-T)
        2. Dosage: read and follow the label instructions as dosage differ slightly between manufacturers.

When most commonly given?

Bucks. Once a year

Breeding females. 4 to 6 weeks before kidding. By vaccinating does in late pregnancy, some immunity will be passed on to the kids through the colostrum.

Kids. Follow vaccine label instructions for timing and dosage, as both differ slightly between manufacturers.

If breeding females have been vaccinated before kidding, a common practice is to vaccinate kids at 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster 21 to 28 days later.

If breeding females have not been vaccinated before kidding and you experience problems, it is a common practice to vaccinate kids at 2 weeks of age, followed by a booster 21 to 28 days later.

  1. Multivalent clostridial vaccine (Covexin8)

Dosage: read and follow label directions as timing and dosage differ slightly between manufacturers

When most commonly given?

Bucks. Once a year

Breeding females. Vaccination should be scheduled so that pregnant does receive their second vaccination or annual booster 2 to 6 weeks before kidding. By vaccinating does in late pregnancy, some immunity will be passed on to the kids through the colostrum.

Kids. Follow vaccine label instructions for dosage and timing as they differ slightly between manufacturers

If breeding females have been vaccinated before kidding, it is a common practice to vaccinate kids at 10 to 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster at 16 to 18 weeks of age.

If breeding females have not been vaccinated before kidding and you experience problems, it is a common practice to vaccinate kids at 4 weeks of age, followed by a booster at 10 weeks of age.

How should injections be given, and where?

Both Clostridium perfringens Types C D /Tetanus and multivalent clostridial vaccines are given by sub-cutaneous or intramuscular injections. Sub-cutaneous injections are favored because of the greater tissue damage at the injection site from intramuscular injections.

For sub-cutaneous injections, pinch loose skin between thumb and index finger high on the neck (as close to the head as possible) or behind the front leg (“armpit” or axilla), or between the chest and one of the front legs (Figure 1), and insert the needle. Make sure that the needle is under the skin and does not stick out on the other side of the pinched skin.

Figure 1.

Figure 2.

Figure 3.

Figure 4.

How should I handle and store the vaccine?

    • Store out of direct sunlight at 35-45°F.
    • Avoid freezing.
    • Shake well before using.
    • Insert a clean needle into the bottle when first opened, and aspirate vaccine only from the inserted needle so as not to contaminate the vaccine remaining in the bottle.
    • It is recommended to use the entire contents when the bottle is first opened.

Is there a slaughter withdrawal time?

    • Read and follow label directions. But, yes, there is usually a 21 day waiting period between vaccination and slaughter/sacrifice for these vaccines.

The bottom line

    • A sickness in one goat or in the whole herd can cost much more when sick animals have to be treated compared to the cost of prevention. Some health problems cannot even be treated. Thus, prevention is the only sensible approach to goat herd disease management.


      • JM Luginbuhl
        • Extension Specialist (Goats & Forage Systems)
        • Crop and Soil Sciences
      • Kevin Anderson
        • Professor, Ruminant Health and Production Medicine
        • Veterinary Medicine

Goat Vaccination Program

Goats June 15, 2016

Recommended Vaccination

The vaccine commonly known as “CDT” or “CD&T” is a vaccination for Clostridium perfringenstype C + D and tetanus. This is the vaccine that everyone raising goats should use. The label directions should be followed closely, including those for handling and storage. Several companies make CDT vaccines and some of those include vaccines for additional clostridial diseases. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if those other diseases are common in your area or are on your farm before spending the extra money for the multiple combination vaccines.

Does should be vaccinated for CDT approximately 30 days prior to giving birth to provide protection to the kids through the first milk, or colostrum. If the doe has not been given a priming booster of two shots adminstered three to four weeks apart at some time in her life, the pre-kidding annual shot will not really be effective. This priming set of shots is usually given when the doe is a young kid but can be done at any age.

Kids should be vaccinated at 5 to 6 weeks of age and then given a booster three to four weeks later. Vaccination of kids from properly vaccinated does prior to 5 weeks of age may result in kids that are not protected and annual boosters may be ineffective.

Kids born to does with uncertain vaccination history or with questionable colostrum ingestion within the first 24 hours of birth should be vaccinated at 7 to 21 days of age and then given a booster three to four weeks later. Alternately, tetanus antitoxin (150 - 250 units) can be given at birth or at castration.

Breeding bucks, yearlings and other adults should get annual boosters 30 days prior to the breeding season or when others in the herd are given booster vaccines. New breeding bucks and does with unknown vaccination history should get two initial doses, three to six weeks apart, and then annually. Some research has shown that goats might benefit from booster vaccinations twice a year, six months apart.

Optional Vaccinations

Caseous lymphandentitis (CL) vaccines licensed and available for sheep have caused serious side effects in immune-compromised goats -- for example, those that are sick, weak, old, really young or highly stressed. Consult your veterinarian before attempting off-label use of any vaccine or drug. A relatively new product is now licensed and approved for use in goats older than three months; it is not licensed and approved in all states, however. It often results in mild to severe local swelling or even injection site abscesses and is less than 100% effective in preventing CL. There are companies that can create an autogenous (farm-specific) CL vaccine; this is a vaccine made from the exact organism infecting your herd. If made correctly, an autogenous vaccine should be more effective than a commercial one. CL vaccinations should never be used on a farm where CL is not already present; such use interferes with interpreting blood test results if owners want to test for CL in individuals.

There is a sore mouth (contagious ecthyma or orf) vaccine approved/labeled for use in sheep and goats. It should not be used if animals do not already have sore mouth because it is a live vaccine that would infect the farm. In situations where the infection is present, the company recommends vaccinating each lamb and kid crop. New animals should also be vaccinated. Pregnant animals should be vaccinated well ahead of birthing and vaccination should continue yearly.

Companies that offer rabies vaccines will not sell to anyone but veterinarians in many states. Currently, there are producers who vaccinate for rabies, even though the risk of contracting it is low. If a flock is in an area with a high number of rabies cases or one that has a lot of wildlife, or if there is frequent contact between the animals and people, vaccination might be an option. Profitability should be kept in mind, and a veterinarian consulted. Dogs and cats should always be vaccinated, and guardian animals should also be considered for vaccination.

There are foot rot and foot scald vaccines labeled for sheep and/or cattle only. The vaccine does not prevent the disease from occurring. It can help control or eliminate the problem if used with good management, including culling chronically infected animals, regular foot trimming, soaking feet in hoof bath and keeping animals in a clean, dry environment. Foot rot vaccines should be given every three to six months and especially prior to times when there may be hoof problems, such as the wet/rainy season. Follow label directions for dosage, methods, and timing of vaccinations.

Vaccinations for abortions and pneumonia are available for some species. Get a diagnosis for abortions before using a vaccine. Chlamydia and Toxoplasmosis are common microorganisms that can cause abortions, and producers can vaccinate for these if the disease gets in the herd. If the vaccine is used, a booster should be given each year, two to four weeks prior to the breeding season. Prevention for some abortive diseases can be provided through antibiotics such as chlortetracycline, or CTC added to the feed for several weeks prior to birthing. A veterinarian should be consulted for proper doses and timing.

For pneumonia, Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida vaccines are available and labeled for goats, sheep, and cattle. Follow label directions. Generally, after 3 months of age, inject 2 cc subcutaneously and repeat in two to four weeks. If given earlier than 3 months, animals should be re-vaccinated at 4-6 months of age).

Again, a veterinarian, local extension staff and neighboring producers can help determine if the vaccinations for these optional diseases are needed.

Information primarily provided by Dr. Niki Whitley,The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina A&T State University.