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Why We Don't Vaccinate our Goats with CD&T.

These are our personal experiences and our personal thoughts on our decision not to vaccinate our herd with CDT.

I share it here to give a point of view, not to suggest that one direction or another is right for every herd.

To understand our decision, you must first understand each part of this vaccination and what it is intended to treat.

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:

The "T" stands for Tetanus. 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.

We have been raising goats since 2016 and have seen zero cases of either of these in all those years.

Another breeder we know has been raising goats since 2008 and in that time she has had several hundred goat kids born on her farm. They vaccinated the first year or two and never since. They saw one case each of entero and tetanus in the entire time they had goats.

The entero case was a management failure. They 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. This happened two days in a row. One doe out of about 50 came down with entero after gorging the second morning. It was a hard, painful death and they didn't immediately recognize what was going on since they hadn't encountered it before. There was no antitoxin available in their town so there wasn't anything they could have done anyway. However, if they had caught it early on, they may have been able to turn it around with some of the herbal remedies that are now better researched. After that experience, they then had "all natural" folks pressuring them to begin vaccination. But they wisely thought, "Why would we compromise the innate immunity our herd has through their natural rearing methods because one goat did not exhibit the same immunity?" We look at it from a similar perspective - we would rather keep our genetics pure and innately resistant. In the case above, that doe that was sick was a long sought after, "keeper" doe out of their highest appraising doe. But, this doe would actually have been a detriment in their breeding program if she did not have strong immunity.

The tetanus case this long-time farm had 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. The new owners lost him, it was devastating and the goat breeder replaced him with another kid. This is only once instance, however, out of many others successfully banded.

CD&T vaccination has a documented possible side effect of anaphylaxis and you're instructed to be ready with epinephrin in case of a 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 we will ever be convinced that this product is worth the inherent risk and destruction to the innate immunity our animals possess. That said, we do not turn away ALL vaccines as in some rare cases they could be useful/helpful. But they will never be a normal practice on our farm.

We are in our 10th year of raising goats now and so far we have been fortunate in working towards strong immunity by good management which includes clean, rotated pastures, low stress and good nutrition. From that, we have been able to provide strong, healthy offspring to new breeders and so far, we've had excellent reviews from all who have purchased goats from us. We've been told that, "Your goats are the healthiest of our entire herd!" from several purchasers!

Each has to make their own decisions regarding all vaccinations and not all farm situations can be run like ours. But it's worth researching both sides of the issue, and looking at natural ways to build immunity before making your final decision.

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