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Clostridial diseases include Pulpy Kidney, Tetanus, Malignant Oedema, Black disease and Black Leg.
It is a little concerning that there are some farms that do not vaccinate against these diseases. A comment I get when talking about clostridial vaccines is – “Why should I vaccinate when I don’t have the disease?” A relevant question if you truly did not have the disease, but what did suddenly kill that well grown calf last autumn, or why did that weaner die and “blow up” so quick last spring.
The clostridial bacteria are plentiful. They are in the environment, they are the bugs responsible for decomposing dead organic matter either animal or plant. They can be found in the gut of animals. When they get out of control – there is trouble.
Pulpy Kidney causes sudden death of calves after a change of feed – usually the biggest calf in the mob.
Tetanus bacteria enter the body from a cut in the skin and lead to “lock jaw” and terminal seizures.
Malignant Oedema (gas gangrene) gets in from skin wounds, which become necrotic, then gassy – the animal then succumbs to blood poisoning.
Black disease occurs secondarily to liver fluke infection. The immature liver fluke damage the liver, allowing clostridial bacteria to multiple, causing tissue damage followed by blood poisoning and death.
Black leg causes necrosis and blackening of muscles (usually of the leg) followed by gas production, blood poisoning and death.
Treatment is usually unsuccessful. The progress of the disease is so rapid that animals are usually just found “dead”.
Traditionally these above diseases have been prevented by using “5 in 1” vaccines – e.g. Ultravac 5 in 1. This is a good place to start, but in New Zealand we do have 6th bacteria which is not included in the 5 in 1. Infection with this one causes “sudden death syndrome”
Covexin 10 protects against 10 types of clostridial infection that can be found overseas. It is considered the gold standard for clostridial vaccination and is the vaccine of choice for cattle.
The normal vaccination protocol is a sensitizer dose followed a month later by a booster dose starting as early as 2 weeks old for Covexin 10, and starting at any age for Ultravac. A booster dose is due every 12 months thereafter.