Tetanus is Deadly and Preventable!
Any wound can lead to tetanus infections.
This is why Immunization plays a critical role in the health and well-being of goats. For goats, the Clostridium Perfringens Types C and D and Tetanus (CDT) vaccine is one of the most crucial vaccines in the herd health program.
Goats can contract tetanus through puncture wounds, disbudding, fights between bucks, dog bites, castration, tattooing, dehorning, and kidding difficulties (dystocia). The constant rubbing of the neck of a chained or tethered goat can produce skin lesions that result in tetanus.
The bacteria can quickly enter the goat’s wound and multiply when they’re open and penetrate. And eventually, it excretes potent toxins that can cause pain.
In most cases, they find their way to the tissues through wounds, particularly deep puncture wounds. However, tetanus in lambs could happen after docking or castration.
And sometimes, the point of entry is not noticeable because the wound is minor or already healed.
The clinical signs of tetanus in goats include:
Stiff limbs, muscles, and tail
Lockjaw or the jaws is clamped together
Drooling saliva from the mouth
Erect ears and tails
Inability to eat or drink
You may notice localized stiffness, including masseter and neck muscles, hind limbs, and part of the infected wound. Then, the stiffness will be more apparent a day later.
These symptoms usually appear a week to 3rd week after the infection occurs.
Tetanus’ incubation period varies from one to several weeks but averages 10 to 14 days.
If your goat hasn’t experienced it yet, that’s great! Early prevention is the key to your goat’s survival, so we prepared several prevention tips to protect your goat.
Time is crucial in treating 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.
Tetanus can be diagnosed through a clinical evaluation and confirming the toxin presence.
But the clinical signs and history are often enough for vets to make a clinical diagnosis of tetanus. The diagnosis can then be confirmed by detecting the tetanus toxin from the sick goat.
If you notice the symptoms of tetanus in goats, bring them immediately to your Vet.
There are tetanus antitoxins, but they will be ineffective once the toxin reaches the spinal cord. So, vaccinating them promptly is crucial for their survival.
However, early intervention is the best way to prevent it.
The first thing you can do is locate the wound and clean it with clean water and antiseptic. Give them supplements that boost their immunity and muscle relaxants.
Then bring them to your vet to administer high doses of penicillin, tetanus anti-toxic, or anti-inflammatories.
Prevention is the key! Give CD & T shots!
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 administered 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.
Information credit includes: https://goats.extension.org/goat-vaccination-program/