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Clostridial disease in cattleRSS feed

Posted: Friday 9 January, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 2:52pm in Cattle No comments Add your own

I do love a day when I learn something new, even when I'd amazed that I didn't know it before.

I was reading the NADIS site two nights ago, as you do, and looking at the page about castrating bull calves - we don't do our lambs with rings (I *have* done it but it was years ago) and until now, I've got the vet to do the bull calves either with a Burdizzo or by cutting, when he comes to PD the cows. Some pretty horrid photos of castrations gone wrong and it was just before dinner, but I'm made of stern stuff.

Anyway, in the section about ringing, it said (and I paraphrase slightly) that there was a risk of tetanus, but calves that had recived adequate colostrum from a vaccinated cow should be fine. And I thought "we don't vaccinate our cattle for tetanus". Just in case it's not clear, tetanus is caused by a soil-borne bacteria called Clostridium tetani. We have our sheep on the Heptavac P programme, which protects against a number of clostridial diseases, including tetanus, and I have my ponies jagged every year for tetanus (and, of course, us humans are up to date with *our* vaccinations) but for some reason, I'd just never thought about the cattle.

I emailed my vet to ask if I *should* be vaccinating and did everyone else do it - and he had a little rant (not at me) about how too few farmers vaccinate cattle against clostridial disease. He said that his practice had had a dead stock bull this year already - ie in the last week - and it was more than likely tetanus or something similar that had killed him. The vaccine is cheap - he suggested (and again I paraphrase slightly) that the cost of the stock bull would have kept the farm in vaccine until the current farmer's son retired (and he's just left school) :-)

So we've decided to vaccinate with Bravoxin 10. It's suitable for sheep as well, and can replace Heptavac (except it doesn't cover Pasteurella so I'll probably stick with Heptavac P Plus for the sheep meantime). Like Heptavac, it's two injections of 2ml a few weeks apart then an annual booster; the smallest pack size is 20 ml and we have nine cattle, so two packs will cover the initial course.

I'm going to buy a vaccination gun - I hate doing sub cut injections - and the vet will bring out the two packs, plus my Heptavac P Plus for the sheep when he comes to do Mak's TB test.

And we'll get them done and protected. I suppose it's insurance - maybe I'd never have a beast with tetanus, but if I lost an animal to something so easily and cheaply prevented, I'd never forgive myself - never mind the economic loss.

Now I have to update my health plan and my To Do List :-)

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