Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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Misconceptions About the Disease and the CL Vaccine

In May 2012, Texas Vet Lab, Inc. of San Angelo, Texas  announced the US government approval of the first  vaccine to control Caseous Lymphadenitis in goats.    Since that announcement, questions have arisen that I will address in this article.

Some goat raisers  oppose vaccination because  testing for CL does  not distinguish between a goat that has been vaccinated with the CL vaccine and one that is infected with the organism.   This position   doesn't hold up under analysis.     Vaccines are made from the substance being vaccinated against and they work by "tricking" the goat's immune system into mounting a response  to a modified  (usually "killed")  version of that bacteria.  A "modified" or "killed" bacteria cannot infect the goat.    Of course the goat is going to test "positive" for CL once it has been vaccinated.   A good immune system will mount a vigorous attack against the killed organism and produce antibodies.   This is how a vaccine works.   Responsible producers  should want to eradicate a disease via vaccination rather than raising a herd of naive (never vaccinated) goats that  might contract the disease if they are exposed.    Smallpox and polio were  eradicated  in the USA through widespread vaccination of the population.   That was a good thing.    Blood tests for CL  are not 100%  accurate; false positives and false negatives are a possibility.   Testing the pus is the only way to be 100% sure what the organism is.  Are you as a producer willing to risk the possibility of false positive,  false negative, or "borderline" test results  so you can have goats that test "negative" for CL at a single point in time?   This is not a responsible way to raise goats.

A "positive" blood test means that the goat possesses antibodies to the disease.   It does not mean that the goat is  a carrier or shedder of the bacteria or is infected   with that organism.     A positive titer means that the goat's immune system has encountered that organism before, either naturally or by vaccination, and its immune system has either mounted a response against it or it has received passive antibodies from its mother.   A "positive" goat may never display clinical signs of CL (abscesses) nor does it have to be contagious to other goats.    EXPOSED DOES NOT MEAN INFECTED.     So vaccinate and stop worrying!

 I would much rather own   goats that test  positive because they have been vaccinated to prevent  CL than susceptible-to-disease goats that test negative.  Remember,  a  negative test means "negative" at a single point in time, i.e. when the blood was drawn for the test.    Like an inspection on a house you are buying,  there is no guarantee that the equipment   will be in the same condition beyond that single moment in time when the inspection  was done.   Vaccination provides some promise of continuing protection against disease.  No vaccine is 100%, and the efficiency of the goat's immune system has much to do with how it processes the benefits that the vaccine provides, but a vaccinated goat is much less likely  to develop  CL than an unvaccinated goat.  There is no such thing as  a "clean" or "disease free" herd.

With the  CL vaccine for goats from Texas Vet Lab, some swelling at the injection site can be expected.  The injection-site "knot" should be firm (not soft).  If  it is  soft,  it could be   caused by bacteria on the needle or on the surface of the skin and may need to be drained.  Do not  inject   Formalin into these knots.      These  knots  are vaccine   granulomas   and are a result of the goat's immune response to the vaccine.  The adjuvant (vaccine's carrier) and the antigen (active ingredient) are recognized as foreign bodies by the goat's immune system and an inflammatory response occurs at the injection site.  They usually resolve themselves over time and that timeframe is  dependent upon the size of the granuloma.  If the goat is going to slaughter, the granuloma  will come off with the hide.  If the goat is breeding stock or a show animal and you  want the granuloma gone,  lance and drain and flush with iodine.    It is likely  a sterile abscess, staph, or arcanobacterium  pyogenes.     It is not  CL.

When administering the Texas Vet Lab vaccine to protect against Caseous Lymphadenitis, use an 18 gauge needle and give the vaccine SQ (under the skin) at the neck because the neck is where the largest number of lymph glands  exist and this bacteria usually enters the body via the mouth.  Give the first injection on one side of the neck and the follow-up booster injection  (on never-before-vaccinated goats) on the other side of the neck. Taking the chill   off the vaccine by removing the bottle from the refrigerator and putting  it in a climate-controlled environment for a short time increases its flow through the syringe and is more comfortable for the goat.    Vaccinate all  non-pregnant and non-lactating goats and yearlings, including   those testing positive for CL and  all goats with visible abscesses.    Some vaccines are being used "curatively"  as well as preventatively; this is one of those vaccines.

USDA labeling does not permit the claim that the vaccine prevents the disease.  No vaccine of any kind prevents disease in 100% of the population to which it is targeted.   Wording like "aids in the reduction of," "aids in the control of,"  "aids in the reduction of severity," or "aids in the reduction of infection or shedding" are label requirements.    This label wording should not deter you  from using the only CL  vaccine  approved for goats.

The dosage for this vaccine is  one cc (1 cc).   The vaccine is labeled to give never-before- vaccinated goats 1 cc and then again in two weeks.  The label is based upon the protocol used when testing was done for submission to the US Government.  I give the initial two injections FOUR WEEKS apart, then annually thereafter.  I've verified that this 30-day spread between injections works and  causes less reaction by and stress on the goat.     As in all situations, use at your own risk.  I am not a vet.  I am a long-time goat rancher.

Contact  Jeffers  (1-800-533-3377  or www.jefferslivestock.com) to purchase the vaccine if you live in a state where over-the-counter sales are permitted.   States requiring a vet prescription means you must buy from your vet.  This vaccine cannot be shipped into Canada or Mexico, but that may changing, so contact Jeffers.  Texas Vet Lab's website www.texasvetlab.com  has a page giving a state-by-state listing of how the vaccine is permitted to be sold in each state.   The information is available under the goat product link and is titled "CL State Approval List."

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas      11/2/17

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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