Do Goats Need to be Vaccinated?

There are many vaccines that humans and animals need to take to live happier lives, such as vaccines against drastic diseases like COVID-19 or Rabies. Do goats belong in the “field” of vaccinations?

Goats do need to be vaccinated as they are prone to several dangerous diseases. Goats should ideally be vaccinated in 3-4 month intervals starting as a kid, or at least semi-annually. Goats also need additional vaccinations depending on how old they are.

First, we will be talking about the different types of vaccines that are recommended for your goat and what to know before you start vaccinating your goat. Afterward, we will talk about how to spot sick goats and how to best help goats that fall into this category. Last, we will talk about the various diseases that you will need to fight against for your goat and when these proper vaccinations need to take place. Source

Types of Vaccinations

Two different types of vaccinations will need to take place with your animal. Unfortunately, no vaccine can provide complete immunity to goats from any disease or side effect that may result from these vaccinations. However, vaccines allow these diseases to come at safer rates if infected, boost the immune system of your goat so it can be healthy and other ways, and reduce and/or eliminate the number of infected goats in your herd. Source

Killed Vaccines

Killed vaccines are made up of dead organisms/chemicals such as aluminum hydroxide or oil, and other antibodies to provide your goat with a satisfactory immune response. These vaccines are beneficial because of the safety and the stability of the product compared to feeds or other types of vaccines/medicines. A couple of disadvantages of killed vaccines is the need for multiple, pricey doses (also known as booster vaccinations) to produce a protective immune effect.

Subunit vaccines are split-off versions of the killed vaccine that contain only part of the virus or bacteria. These vaccines isolate the most important part of the microorganism needed to produce a proper immune response while eliminating other components of the microorganism.

Autogenous bacterial vaccines (autogenous bacterins) are another split-off version from the same killed vaccine family. They are produced from bacteria collected from sick animals. The bacteria are grown in an artificial medium., killed, and mixed with an adjuvant. These vaccines contain very high quantities of endotoxin and other products in that regard so please use these vaccines with caution. The vaccines are beneficial because they have the opportunity to be adjusted to fit the needs of an individual herd, instead of using vaccines that are more generalistic.

Modified Live Vaccines

Modified live vaccines (also known as MLV) have a very small quantity of bacteria that is altered chemically (which provides a slightly safer reaction with goats). This vaccine is not the cure all- There have been instances where some goats or breeds don’t mesh well with the vaccine. For example, MLV’s have been known to cause negative side effects on pregnant goat does that were not vaccinated before their pregnancy. Be sure to proceed with caution. However, this is the best option for animals that are a little bit frailer. Modified Live Vaccines also have the ability to hold the chemicals’ immunity longer and be more robust than other vaccines.

Be sure to use MLV’s with extra care during every step of the vaccination process. Any excessive sunlight, temperature changes, frost, soaps, or delayed administration from the time the vaccine was first created can result in damage to the vaccine, which can kill your animal. If you need to rehydrate your vaccine, you should use it within an hour of mixing the diluent.


Things To Know Before Vaccination

  • Be sure to only vaccinate goats when you know that they are healthy (to minimize the chances of adverse reactions in the future.
  • Please avoid using expired or cloudy vaccines, no matter the cost.
  • Adult Goats will need 20-gauge, 1-inch, or 3/4 inch needles for vaccinations
  • Kid Goats will need a 1/2 inch needle for vaccinations.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dosage.
  • Each goat will need a new, sterile needle.
  • Do not mix vaccines.
  • Do not delay booster shots for the best effect.
  • Keep a record of vaccinations given. Source

Is My Goat Sick?

  • Is your goat isolating itself? Goats are naturally herding animals that will follow each other around. If your goat is running behind or not following at all, chances are it’s sick.
  • Is your goat being idle? Goats are by structural definition very active animals. If your animal is laying around, check him out.
  • Is your goat giving unusual vocalizations? Your goat might be belting a completely different tune or his belts may sound very painful.
  • Does your goat have a swollen midsection? If your goat’s midsection (the technical term for goat stomach) doesn’t look normal or is very swollen, you will need to settle it with a doctor.
  • How is your goats’ posture? Stiff or hunched over goats usually are sick goats.
  • Is your goat shivering? Shivering is a sign of a major problem. Contact a vet right away if you see this problem within your goat.
  • Does your goat have pale gums? Not all sick goats have pale gums, but it is a great way to determine whether it is sick or not.
  • Does your goat have a pale coat? This is another serious warning sign that your goat is sick. Source

If your goat is sick, please follow these simple steps:

  • Separate the ill goat from the rest of your herd to avoid the spread of infection. Be sure to separate the goat but also allow the goat to be somewhat close to the herd to eliminate stress.
  • Make sure to provide a surplus of fresh water and fresh grass hay.
  • Be sure that the goat is given ample shelter as well against elements that can prolong the disease.
  • Call an animal doctor as soon as possible for the quickest turnaround time.


Typical Goat Vaccination Schedule

VaccineDisease Protected AgainstWhen to Give
CDTEnterotoxemia and TetanusDoes: Fourth month of pregnancy
Kids: 1 month old and one month later
All: Booster annually
PneumoniaPasteurella multocida or Mannheimia Haemolytica pneumoniaTwo doses 2–4 weeks apart
CLACornybacterium pseudotuberculosisKids: 6 months old, 3 weeks later and annual
ChlamydiaChlamydia abortionFirst 28–45 days of pregnancy


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