Vaccinations are such a hot topic right now amid the pandemic and the newly created COVID-19 vaccine for humans. Although there is a lot of speculation about human vaccinations, we have been using vaccinations in livestock and pets for a long time with great success. I would argue human vaccinations are also very successful but that’s a different discussion and we’re going to focus on sheep.
The CD&T vaccine is given to sheep annually, typically 4-6 weeks before lambing. What does CD&T stand for? I’m glad you asked! CD&T is a vaccination for Clostridium perfringens type C + D and tetanus. Clostridium perfringens C & D are commonly known as overeating disease. Michigan State University does a great job of further explaining them here.
We give vaccinations before the lambs are born because as the lambs nurse and consume colostrum in the first few days after birth they absorb passive immunity from their mothers which helps protect them until they receive their own shot of the vaccine at about 8 weeks old or close to weaning time.
We also have Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) in our flock. CL is a contagious bacterial disease in sheep and goats that appears as large abscesses in the lymph nodes and organs. In our flock we most commonly see them appear around the jaw line of ewes. 2021 is the second year we have vaccinated for CL with Case-Bac and are seeing really good results. When we brought the majority of the flock home in May of 2019, many of the ewes had abscesses at that time. We monitored the ewes and the presence of abscesses throughout the summer and decided we would trial the vaccination for CL the following year. Throughout 2020 we saw much fewer instances of CL abscesses in the ewes.
Like in humans, we use vaccinations in livestock as a preventative method to avoid death in the flock and the need to use antibiotics during their life. You can find a video showing our 2021 pre-lambing vaccinations here!