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Thoughts on Vaccinating with CDT

This is my personal experience and my thoughts on my decision not to vaccinate my herd with CDT. I share it here to give a point of view, not to suggest one way or another what you should decide for your herd.

CD is enterotoxemia, a bacterial overgrowth often caused by management issues. It’s called ‘overeating disease’ because it is usually significant increases in feeds that bring it about. You can read more here:

Tetanus comes through wounds but is not as common as we’re led to believe. Importantly, oxygenated wound environments protect against tetanus, which is why in disbudding, for example, you want to avoid putting a salve or any sort of covering that might inhibit air flow.

I’ve been raising goats since 2008 and had a couple hundred kids. We vaccinated the first year or two and never since. We’ve seen 1 case each of entero and tetanus in the entire time we’ve had goats.

The entero case was a management failure. We began separating kids overnight to milk in the morning and two days in a row something failed in the separation fence so kids broke out and gorged on all the stored up milk their dams had early in the morning both days. One doe out of about 50 came down with entero after gorging the second morning. It was a hard, painful death and I didn’t immediately recognize what was going on since we hadn’t encountered it before. There was no antitoxin available in town so there wasn’t anything I could have done anyway, though if I’d have caught it early on, I may have been able to turn it around with some of the herbal remedies I’ve read about since. I had “all natural” folks pressuring me to begin vaccination then. My thinking is – why would I compromise the innate immunity my herd has through their natural rearing methods because one goat did not exhibit the same immunity? I look at it from a different perspective – I’d rather keep my genetics pure and innately resistant, so that doe, a long sought after keeper doe out of my highest appraising doe, would actually have been a detriment in my breeding program.

The tetanus case was a banded wether at the tail end of 2021’s breeding season. He went home to a horse owning family and contracted tetanus there. They lost him, it was devastating and I replaced him with another kid. We’d already concluded at the end of last season that banding was too inhumane and were switching to a bloodless method anyway, but that further reinforced my belief that banding is not the best solution for my own herd.

CDT has a documented possible side effect of anaphylaxis and you’re instructed to be ready with epinephrin in case of reaction. Though not documented, you can find accounts of death and other side effects anecdotally from producers. Some CDT MSDS say they can cause cancer. This one from Durvet specifies that it contains thimerosal and formaldehyde. It also says to avoid the product being introduced into the environment. But it’s okay to inject into our animals?

We do nothing to prevent these diseases outside trying to have good management. There is no way I will ever be convinced that this product is worth the inherent risk and destruction to the innate immunity my animals possess.

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