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Dr. Lionel Dawson

Oklahoma State University

Herd health programs have to be tailor-made to fit individual herds and will depend on the herd size, purpose for having the herd, and production goals of the owner. For the most part, goats are managed as small groups of five to 50 animals per herd. There are relatively few large commercial goat herds with up to 1,000 head. Purebred sales, showing, 4-H projects, and production of milk and meat for home use are some of the reasons for these small herds.

Large herds have the usual problems associated with high density of animals and continuous turnover. Small herds tend to have a high nonproductive/productive ratio. Small herd owners often keep animals that would normally be culled from commercial herds. Often, the net result is the maintenance of animals with chronic illnesses that may serve as reservoirs of disease.

Management practices contribute significantly to disease problems. Goat husbandry is very labor intensive, and most herds are maintained by people who earn their living away from the farm. Disease problems can often be eliminated with correct management and emphasis on proper sanitation.

I. Kids and Weanlings:

a. Dry off kids immediately after birth and provide warm, dry, clean environment. Kids may be removed from their dams at this time if they are to be bottle reared.

b. Dip the navel and soles of the feet in strong tincture of iodine immediately following birth.

c. Feed two ounces of colostrums within 30-60 minutes of birth (at least 10% of their body weight), and provide colostrums for the next three to four days.

d. Kids should be examined for congenital defects.

e. Disbud kids as soon as buttons can be detected, usually from three days to two weeks of age. Castration could be done at the same time.

f. Treat with coccidiostat when moving kids to new pens, if coccidiosis is a problem in the herd.

g. Where nutritional muscular dystrophy is a common problem, kids should receive an injection of Vitamin E/Selenium at one to two weeks of age and repeat in four weeks.

h. At one month of age, vaccinate twice at a two-week interval with Clostridium perfringens C & D toxoid/bacterin. Other vaccines may be started at this time as well.

i. Begin deworming at one month of age and repeat every six weeks. Tapeworms are a problem in kids so deworm them with a product that will work against tapeworms.

j. Separate doe and buck kids before three to four months of age.

II. Does

a. CMT test every doe at freshening, at dry-off, any time you are suspicious of them having mastitis.

b. Feet should be checked and trimmed monthly. Trim feet one month before the breeding season begins.

c. Vaccinate for leptospirosis, vibriosis, and chlamydiosis one month prior to the start of breeding if these diseases are important in your area or herd.

d. Pregnancy test all does between 80-100 days post-breeding by external palpation or ultrasound at 45-60 days.

e. Deworm the doe at dry-off and again one month prior to kidding.

f. Administer booster vaccinations of Clostridium perfringens C&D toxoid/bacterin and tetanus toxoid two to four weeks before kidding.

g. Restrict calcium intake during the dry period and be sure does are not over-conditioned upon entering the dry period.

h. Provide plenty of exercise for kidding does.

i. Provide a clean, draft-free area for maternity pen.

III. Bucks

a. Administer vaccine to the bucks at the same time does receive them.

b. Deworm every three months or as fecal exams dictate. The buck should be dewormed one month prior to the breeding season.

c. Periodically check feet and trim as needed with at least one trimming one month prior to the breeding season.

This is the basic outline for herd health programs in the goat herd. Individual herd requirements will dictate modifications of this program. The herd should have periodic fecal examinations and be treated according to findings. Goats going to shows should be quarantined upon their return to the home farm for at least 30 days.

Vaccination Protocol For Goats

A. Entertoxemia

Initially, vaccinate all goats over one month of age in the herd with Clostridium perfringens toxin/bacterin types C&D. A second dose of vaccine is given in two or four weeks. Booster vaccinations are given with 8-way Clostridium at three months of age, 5 ml subcutaneous, followed by 2 ml dose in six weeks. Need to booster them at least two weeks before any period of stress or every four months.

Kids that get immune colostrums are vaccinated at three to four weeks of age. Booster injections are given four weeks later and again at six months. If kids do not receive immune colostrums, vaccinate at one week of age. Boosters are required three to four weeks later and at six months.

B. Tetanus

Administer tetanus toxoid to all adult goats, beginning with two doses given two to four weeks apart and continuing with single annual boosters. Tetanus vaccine is usually incorporated with your entertoxemia vaccine.

C. Vibriosis

Vaccinate for vibriosis one month prior to the start of breeding season, if there is a problem.

D. Chlamydiosis

Does should be vaccinated one month prior to the start of breeding season.

E. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis does not appear to be a significant cause of abortion in goats. If leptospirosis is diagnosed in a herd, vaccination of does one month prior to the start of breeding season is recommended.

F. Contagious Ecthyma

Sore mouth vaccination is only recommended in the face of an outbreak since the vaccine is a virulent live virus and remains on the premises for several years. It may be wise to vaccinate show goats one month prior to showing. Once the premises have been contaminated with vaccine virus or virus from a natural infection, vaccinations will be mandatory for subsequent generations.

Adults are vaccinated when no kids are nursing prior to kidding. Kids are vaccinated only after all does have kidded, preferably after weaning, and at least one month prior to exposing kids to other goats. Immunity appears to last for one to five years; therefore the safest plan is annual vaccination. A minimal vaccination program would include vaccinating only new kids and new acquisitions. Colostral immunity only gives partial immunity and lasts only one to two weeks. Kids are usually vaccinated at the time of castration/dehorning.

Biologicals Available for Goats
Disease Product Manufacturer
Entertoxemia C&D Toxoid

C&D Toxoid

Vision® CD with spur®

Clostridium perfringens Type C&D Toxoid

Ultrabac® CD




Colorado Serum


Enterotoxemia & Tetanus Bar-Vac® CD/T

Vision® CD/T with spur

Fermicon CD/T

Clostridium perfringens C&D Tetanus Toxoid

Caseaus D-TTM




Colorado Serum

Colorado Serum

Enterotoxemia, Malignant Edema, Blackleg & Sorehead Ultrabac® 7

Ultrabac® 8

Clostridial 7-way

Clostridial 8-way

Electroid® 7

Vision 7® with spur®

Vision 8® with spur®

Fermicon 7TM









Entertoxemia, Malignant Edema, Blackleg, Sorehead, Covexin® 8-way Schering-Plough
Tetanus Toxoid Tetnogen®

Tetnogen® AT

Ovine Tetanus ShieldTM

Super-Tet with Lavlogen®

Tetanus Toxoid

Tetanus Toxoid - concentrated

Tetanus Toxoid - concentrated

Tetanus Toxoid - unconcentrated


Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge




Colorado Serum

Professional Biological

Colorado Serum

Boehringer Ingelheim

Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth) Ovine Ecthyma Vaccine

Texas A&M University at Sonora

Colorado Serum (915) 387-3168
Campylobacter/Chlamydia Campylobacter Fetus Bacterin (Ovine)

Chlamydia Psittaci Bacterin

EnzabortTM (EAE-Vibrio)

Colorado Serum

Colorado Serum

Colorado Serum

Foot Rot Footvax®




Leptospirosis Leptoferm - 5® Norden


Schering-Plough Bacterin-Toxoid

Clostridium chauvoei-septicum-haemolyticum-novyi-tetani-perfringens

Types C&D Bacterin-Toxoid

U.S. Vet. Lic. No. 107

Active Ingredient(s):

A formalin-inactivated, alum-precipitated bacterin-toxoid prepared from highly toxigenic cultures and culture filtrates of Clostridium chauvoei, CL sapticum, Cl haemolyticum (known elsewhere as Cl novyi Type D), Cl novyi, Cl tetani, and Cl perfringens types C and D. COVEXIN® 8 is an Electroferm® product produced by an electronically controlled deep culture process.

The specific toxoids and/or cellular antigens required for optimal disease protection are emphasized in the growth of Electroferm® cultures. These cultures are highly concentrated and, when divided for the blending of combination vaccines, make possible the production of the low volume dose. Exacting procedures are employed to ensure that each dose of combination vaccine contains an appropriate amount of each component.

All components of each serial of the final product are tested for potency using USDA accepted laboratory and/or host animal tests.


For the active immunization of healthy sheep against diseases caused by Clostridium chauvoei, Cl septicum, Cl haemolyticum (known elsewhere as Cl novyi type D), Cl novyi, Cl tetani, and Cl perfringens types C and D.

Although Cl perfringens type B is not a significant problem in the U.S.A., immunity may be provided against the beta and epsilon toxins elaborated by Cl perfringens type B. The immunity is derived from the combination of type C (beta) and type D (epsilon) fractions.

Dosage and Administration:

Shake well. Using aseptic technique, inject 5 mL subcutaneous followed by a 2 mL dose in six (6) weeks. Revaccinate annually with 2 mL prior to periods of extreme risk, or parturition. For Cl novyi and Cl haemolyticum, revaccinate every five (5) to six (6) months. Vaccination should be scheduled so that pregnant ewes receive their second vaccination or annual booster two (2) to six (6) weeks before lambing commences in the flock. Lambs should be given their primary course beginning at 10 to 12 weeks of age.


Store at 35-45F (2-7C). Protect from freezing.

This product has been tested under laboratory conditions and has met all federal standards for safety and ability to immunize normal healthy animals. The level of performance may be affected by conditions of use such as stress, weather, nutrition, disease, parasitism, other treatments, individual idiosyncrasies, or impaired immunological competency. These factors should be considered by the user when evaluating product performance or freedom from reactions.


Use the entire contents when first opened. Anaphylactic reactions may occur following use.




Do not vaccinate within 21 days before slaughter.


The protective value of all components of COVEXIN® 8 has been demonstrated through the most critical test procedures available. Vaccinated sheep withstood the challenge of massive doses of virulent live spores of Cl chauvoei, Cl septicum, Cl tetani, Cl novyi types B and D. Cl perfringens types C and D, for which no host animal direct-challenge test exists, were evaluated by measuring the amount of antitoxin produced by cattle, sheep, and laboratory animals.


50 mL and 250 mL vials.


Planning Calendar for Dairy Goats Herd Health
StageSuggested Health PracticeAdditional Practices
Pre-breeding (30-60 days before breeding) Bucks & Does: Vaccinate for Chlamydia and Campylobacter if necessary. Breeding Soundness Evaluation performed. Every month, all animals: trim feet, check for lice
Pre-breeding (15-30 days before breeding) Bucks: Be aware of heat stress.

Bucks & Does: 2nd vaccination for Chlamydia and Campylobacter, booster vaccination for enterotoxemia and tetanus. Deworm both bucks and does.

Campylobacter and Chlamydia vaccination if necessary.
Breeding (30-60 days) Check for pregnancy 45-60 days after breeding with ultrasound.
Pre-kidding (45 days before kidding) Does: Begin lead feeding - amount determined by condition, anticipated number of offspring, quality of diet. Make sure cats are not defacating in feed to prevent toxoplasmosis.
Pre-kidding (15-30 days before kidding) Does: Booster vaccination for enterotoxemia and tetanus, and deworm (Clost CD&T).

Watch for pregnancy toxemia.

Kidding Does: Observe 3-5 times per day. Assist if needed. Check milk and udder, monitor temperature and uterine discharge, save and heat treat extra colostrums for later kids. Clip, dip, and strip: Clip navel cord to 2-4", dip navel in 7% iodine, strip small amount of milk to make sure teat ends are open.

Kids: Make sure kids are clean and dry, check for abnormalities, feed heat-treated colostrums (2-3 ounces) within one half hour after birth, dip navels with 7% iodine. Feed kids 10% of body with pasteurized colostrums. Raise kids on milk replacer or if on cow milk, supplement with iron dextran.

Nursing Does: Those producing milk for human consumption should not have kids nurse.

Kids: Feed kids 1 pint milk 3x/day on a routine schedule for 10-12 weeks, all feeding equipment must be cleaned after each feeding. Vaccinate kids for enterotoxemia and tetanus at four, eight, and 12 weeks of age; use appropriate coccidiosis prevention - either feed continuously or treat monthly.

Lactation Does: Milk does on a routine 2x/day schedule, check milk each milking for abnormalities, use good milking practices, CMT weekly, teat dip every teat after every milking; milking machines should be checked frequently, pressures and vacuum should be monitored and tested at least every six months.
Weaning Kids: At 10-12 weeks of age and once kids are drinking water and consuming large volumes of hay and grain, drop from three feedings per day to 2 feedings for three to four days; if kids maintain body weight and rate of gain, drop to one feeding milk per day for three to four days; if kids maintain body weight and rate of gain, stop feeding milk. May want to use coccidiostat in creep feed and post weaning feed.
Post-weaning Kids: Check fecal samples for coccidian and internal parasites, monitor hair coat for lice; feed adequate diet to reach 70 lbs breeding size by fall; trim feet monthly.
Drying Does At the last milking, infuse each teat with an approved "dry cow" treatment. Remove the dry goat from the milking pen. Apply teat dip 2x/day and monitor udder health and tension. Abrupt cessation of milking decreases and the incidence of mastitis and decreases trauma to the udder.
  • Deworming may be required as often as every three weeks - VERY EXPENSIVE!!
  • Pasture rotation and stocking rate can reduce deworming requirements to about 4x/year.
  • Fecal worm egg counts can help keep cost down.

Planning Calendar for Meat Goats Herd Health
StageSuggested Health PracticeAdditional Practices
Pre-breeding (30-60 days) Bucks: Be aware of heat stress. Breed Soundness Evaluation done.

Does: Vaccinate does. Campylobacter, Chlamydia, Lepto if a problem. May want to flush with good pasture or grain. Vaccinate with Clost CD&T and deworm at least two weeks before breeding

Breeding (30-60 days) Bucks: Additional feed. Be aware of heat stress.

Does: Observe for heat or use marking harness on bucks. Check for pregnancy at 45-60 days with ultrasound.

Make sure cats are not defecating in feed to prevent toxoplamosis.
Pre-kidding (15-30 days) Does: Booster Clostridium perfringens type C&D, plus Tetanus Toxoid and deworm.

Watch for pregnancy toxemia.

Kidding Does: Observe 3-5 times per day. Assist if needed.

Kids: Clip, dip, and strip: Clip navel cord to 2-4", dip navel in 7% iodine, strip small amount of milk to make sure teat ends are open.

Nursing/Lactation Does: Feed extra feed to does with multiple kids.

Kids: Observe daily for signs of diarrhea or respiratory disease. Castrate males before three weeks of age. Start feeding by three weeks of age if you plan to creep.

Weaning Wean at three to five months or when marketed as young kids.

Checking for internal parasites. Deworm if needed.

Vaccinate - Clostridium perfringens type C&D and Tetanus.

May want to use coccidiostat in creep feed and post weaning feed.
Post-weaning/Drying About every four weeks, check for internal parasites and deworm as needed.

Revaccinate at two to four weeks after first injection.

Reduce feed to does just before weaning. May want to reduce water availability for a day or two after weaning.

  • Deworming may be required as often as every three weeks - VERY EXPENSIVE!!
  • Pasture rotation and stocking rate can reduce deworming requirements to about 4x/year.
  • Fecal worm egg counts can help keep cost down.

The proper citation for this article is:
Dawson, L. 2001. Caprine Herd Health Program. Pages 16-23 in Proc. 16th Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.


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