Spring is just around the corner and losses due to the clostridial diseases pulpy kidney, blackleg and black disease become a definite possibility.
Little can be done to treat an animal affected by these clostridial diseases. Often all that is found is an animal dead in the paddock.
Therefore, the emphasis should be on prevention. The key to prevention is to ensure that cattle and sheep are adequately protected through vaccination.
To be effective, vaccines need to be given strategically.
Most vaccines give up to 12 months of protection and should therefore be given at least annually.
As with any vaccination program, adult cows and ewes should be vaccinated approximately one month prior to calving and lambing to give their calves and lambs ‘maternal’ or ‘passive’ immunity through the colostrum. Passive immunity lasts approximately six weeks.
After this calves and lambs must be vaccinated twice to gain active immunity. This should be carried out by two injections four to six weeks apart.
The first vaccination is often given at marking and the second vaccination is given four to six weeks later.
It is worth noting the enterotoxaemia vaccine has a short immunity duration of only three or four months of protection. Therefore, a booster dose should be given strategically before a high-risk period ie before the beginning of spring. For further advice please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer, or in NSW your LLS.