CL Vaccination - Thoughts and experiences
I'm currently in the midst of getting my herd vaccinated against CL and I thought I'd record my experiences. I spent a good deal of time on the phone today with a researcher at Texas Vet Labs, the company that manufactures the vaccine I'm using. At this time, it is the only CL vaccine available in the U.S. that is labeled for goats. It came on the market three years ago (2012) and currently has a provisional FDA license, meaning it is still partially in the research phase and has to be approved for sale on a state-by-state basis.

So far every one of my goats has had some reaction, varying from a small knot that can only be found if you know where to feel, to large knobs that can be seen from a distance, and one goat who had the entire side of her neck become rigid and very painful. So far none of these swellings have been hot. I wanted to tell the researcher my experience so far and ask if this is typical. He said it is not, but that all of their research was done on Boers, and most of the feedback they've gotten has been from Boer herds. From the small amount of anecdotal evidence he's heard, dairy breeds seem to react to the vaccine at a much higher rate than Boers, and he even gave me an interesting reason behind this.

Boer goats only recently came over from South Africa, and there is no CL in South Africa. Since the breed had never before been exposed to this bacteria, they had no natural resistance to the disease and are therefore terribly affected by it. Our European dairy goats, of course, have lived with this disease for hundreds of years or more and are therefore more resistant (although obviously still susceptible). Goats with a strong immune response to CL have a greater reaction to the vaccine than ones who have little or no natural immune response. This is why he believes the dairy goats react more often and more strongly than the Boers. This is also why older goats are more likely to react than younger ones. They have probably been exposed to the bacteria more often in their lifetimes and their bodies are programmed to react against it.

Just my own conjecture, but I wonder if Swiss breeds are also more highly reactive than Nubians. I know that Nubians have been in Europe and America for a long time and have also been interbred with the European breeds, but I do wonder if they might in general still react less than the pure Swiss breeds. I find it interesting that the one pure Alpine that I vaccinated is the one who has had the worst reaction so far. But this could also just be plain coincidence. I'll be interested to see how my other pure Alpine reacts when I vaccinate her after she kids.

The vaccine is not officially approved for use in pregnant does, but that is only because of a lack of research, not because they believe it is harmful. In fact, the man I spoke to indicated that eventually when it is fully FDA licensed it will probably be recommended for pregnant goats one month before kidding. This was a relief to me because I vaccinated Delilah first, thinking that she was open. She had a hormone problem that made her cycle irregularly and kept her from settling. Suddenly, about two days after I vaccinated her I noticed her teats were enlarged. They have continued to grow and now she's getting a small udder. She doesn't remotely look pregnant, but the udder makes me think that her hormone issue may have resolved itself and she got bred by Finn late in the season. So I was very relieved that this vaccine should not affect her pregnancy, and that I may in fact have vaccinated her at the ideal time.

Finally, I also spoke to a researcher at Colorado Serum, the manufacturer of CaseBac, which is a CL vaccine for sheep. He said they have not given up on developing a vaccine for goats and that they actually have one currently in the final stage of development which looks very promising. They hope to be able to put it on the market soon. They have some final research to do this year but are having a hard time finding goats! He's never had this particular difficulty before, but because the price of meat is so high right now, everyone who has goats for sale is selling them on the market. A lot of folks who used to have goats are no longer raising them (likely they sold off because of hay prices and availability during the drought). I told him how excited I am to hear it and I asked if they could please do research on dairy breeds as well as the Boers. I told him what I'd learned from Texas Vet Labs about dairy goats having worse reactions and he seemed to appreciate my input on that particular matter. I like that Colorado Serum is based right here in my own state, and their vaccines tend to have a very good reputation.
Now for a specific run-down of how my goats have reacted individually. This is more for my own records than for anyone in particular, so you guys might want to skip this boring narrative. Wink
I will update these posts with further developments as this saga unfolds.

First goats I vaccinated:

Delilah: Three-year-old Alpine doe, not thought to be pregnant, but turns out she may be after all. She was vaccinated April 20th, and I was very pleased to see that Delilah seemed to have no reaction at all. It wasn't until nearly two weeks afterwards that the entire left side of her neck turned hard as a rock. It felt like the whole muscle down that side had seized. It was only visible if I stood over her neck and looked from the top down, but I could see that that side looked like it was bowed outwards and she was very sore to the touch. She went off grain for a day or two and would stand with her head down. There was never any heat and the swelling was only visible for a few days. It's now over a week after the reaction began and she's still very stiff on that side, but the area is slowly getting smaller.

I did the booster two weeks later on May 4th (one week ago yesterday), and the reaction was almost immediate. A large, hard lump started the very next day on the right side of her neck. It has continued to slowly grow throughout the week. I did the booster higher up near the top of the neck, so while the lump is still quite sore, it at least isn't affecting her head and neck movement so much. She has the occasional bad day where she stands with her head down a lot and isn't interested in grain, but she goes out with the other goats and still grazes. She wants nothing to do with me on her bad days, though!

Snickers: Yearling 5/8 Nubian, 3/8 Alpine wether. He got a small lump that started about five days after administering the first shot on April 20th. It was easily felt but not visible under the hair. That first lump broke up and is now almost gone three weeks later. I gave the booster at two weeks on May 4th and gave it higher up the neck than the first. A lump started 2-3 days afterwards and is much bigger than the first. It is clearly visible but doesn't seem to bother him at all unless I squeeze it.
Second round of goats, first vaccine administered on May 4th:
(All goats were vaccinated high on the neck, almost behind the ears.)

Pac-Man: Two-year-old 3/4 Nubian, 1/4 Alpine wether. No reaction for almost a week, and now eight days later he has a wide, flat, hardened area over the muscle behind the left ear. It is not visible but can be felt. Doesn't seem to bother him.

Huck Finn: Yearling 1/2 Alpine, 1/2 Nubian wether. A knot has slowly grown at the vaccination site and is now visible from a pretty good distance. However, he's very sleek and short-haired. The lump probably wouldn't show on a goat with a more typical hair coat. It's sore if I poke it but otherwise isn't bothering him.

Sputnik: Yearling 5/8 Nubian, 3/8 Alpine wether. Similar bump to Finn's, only you can't see it because he's hairy.

Nubbin: Two-year-old 1/2 Alpine, 1/2 Nubian doe, kidded four days prior to vaccination. Hardly any lump at all. Just the tiniest little knot and she doesn't mind when I poke at it.

Cuzco: 13-year-old 1/2 Alpine, 1/2 Nubian wether. Vaccinated on May 4th, but accidentally pushed the needle all the way through and out the other side. Waited a week to watch for reactions in case any vaccine got under the skin. It did not, so I vaccinated him properly on May 11th. Next morning he had a nice egg-shaped lump on his neck and was having difficulty reaching his grain bucket when I put it on the floor. I had to hold it up for him because he was obviously a little bit sore. The lump is not currently visible but can easily be felt, and the soreness is not enough to keep this old guy from his appetite. He patrolled the property and grazed all day.

Will update again as things progress.
I recently did some research on the vaccines for someone on the goat spot. I dont know much about the new vaccine but its said to be upto 80% effective. Which is better then the 50% or less with case vac. The makers of case vac started on a goat vaccine years ago then scrapped it. Here is a link to their page with that info. But the main reason was injection site reactions and the inability to pass USDA acceptance of these reactions.

Here is my personal experience and what I have heard about case vac site reactions. And I think the first guy you talked to is pretty close to the reason. In mine and others I have spoken to, it seems the goats that were exposed most to CL had the worst site reactions. Older goats did seem to get them much worse then kids. And if makes sense. If you are vaccination against something as nasty as CL and there are antibodies in their system, it would be reasonable to have reactions. This doesnt mean the animal actually has CL but has antibodies against it. But to have such bad reactions to a vaccine that is suppose to be better about it kinda worries me that they didnt test it right in the lab OR hid that information so that they could get it past the USDA. The site reactions are a major reason why people stopped using it on goats. Granted the 50% protection was terrible anyways but few wanted to put their goats through that for such a small %.

Nanno is in one of those tough spots where even with the site reactions, the added protection for her goats is an easy call to do so. So very interested to on updates. Thanks Nanno!
Pack Goat Prospects For Sale.

S.E. Washington (Benton City)
Wow, I didn't realize CaseBac was only 50% effective. That's pretty bad! I read the Colorado Serum link some time ago in my research, which was what prompted me to actually talk to someone from their lab on the phone. I thought the information on their website might be outdated, and it is. They didn't scrap the goat vaccine. They kept working on it, and according to the man I spoke to yesterday, they are very close to getting it approved by the FDA. He seemed very excited about it (as am I). I only hope that they do some of their tests on dairy goats and not just on Boers and other meat goats.

I don't think Texas Vet Labs tested wrong or lied about results. They did all their tests on Boers, which apparently do not experience the same level of reaction as the dairy breeds due to their historic lack of exposure to CL bacteria. Reading reviews of the TVL vaccine, and also having talked to people who vaccinated their Boers with CaseBac, it sounds like the reactions are far less than what my goats have experienced. It's also possible that my goats are having stronger reactions than average simply because they may have already been exposed to the bacteria.
Nanno, I hate you and your goats are having to go through this. I really appreciate your feedback on the vaccination though. I think it is invaluable for anyone who has to/chooses to use it in the future. Having this kind of detailed record is so important. I agree that Boer and dairy goats react differently to things. They should do studies using dairy goats, too, to have a true analysis of results.
Goatberries Happen!
Delilah finally feels good today! This was the first morning in quite some time that she didn't run away from me, and she was leaping and cavorting like her usual playful self. She still has a lump on either side of her neck. The one on the right side (more recent) looks like it's coming to a head. There was mushy spot with shiny skin and hair missing. It looked purple underneath, so I wondered if it was a hematoma. I lanced it and blood came out, so I'm guessing either there was some trauma from the needle or else she's been scratching that sore spot. Either way, I'm really glad to see she's finally feeling better. She really hasn't been herself these past two weeks.

Cuzco was only sore that first morning, so I suspect it was from my technique rather than from the vaccine. His skin is so thick it's really hard to get a good "tent" for giving sub-Q shots and I had to try three times before I got the needle where I wanted it. It's a week later and the lump is growing, but it doesn't seem to bother him at all. He's in fine fettle and has an excellent appetite.

None of the other goats are having any problems and their lumps are all going down. Most of them are just dispersing on their own, but Sputnik's developed a head yesterday. I lanced it last night and got some yellowish pus out. There wasn't a ton, but I think I relieved some of the pressure, and now there's an exit for anything else that wants to work it's way out. It's smaller today and doesn't look like it will need to be drained again.

Can't wait for round 2 on these guys tomorrow. Undecided
Ugh... Finn and Delilah got some nasty abscesses from their second shots. Delilah's started out as a hematoma just above the injection site swelling (I think she was rubbing the spot and caused the blood blister). I lanced it and never got anything but blood out. I kept it open for a few days, but I eventually let it close since I never got very much fluid out and the procedure was making her hate me. The thing seemed to go down for a few days and I thought it might get absorbed. But a day or two ago I noticed it growing again. I didn't have time to lance it with family in town, so I let it be. Tonight when we came home I saw her laying by herself and when I went to check on her I noticed the knot was huge and had stuff leaking. I gave it a light poke and it blew up all over my hand. I took her back to the house and drained about four tons of pus out of that wound. I flushed with iodine solution and I hope she feels a lot better in the morning. She must have a massive cavern in her neck where that thing was!

Finn didn't have too big an abscess and I figured it wouldn't need to be drained, but he rubbed it on stuff and burst it, leaving a pretty big hole in his neck. I've been squeezing it out and flushing it with iodine solution for a few days. It looks pretty gross right now just because the wound is so big (about the size of a nickel) and keeps oozing yellow pus.

Most of the other goats are doing well with the shots so far. Sputnik's abscess disappeared after I drained it just the one time. He's still got a lump where the booster went and he doesn't like me any more--what a drama queen! All the other goats' lumps are going away. Cuzco has taken these shots like he takes everything: very resiliently. He has a small lump from the first shot and nothing yet from the booster. Nubbin has had almost no reaction at all, but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop with Jezebel. She got her first shot almost two weeks ago, and I'm worried because she hasn't shown one sign of reaction yet--which is exactly how Delilah started. It took her almost two weeks before her neck suddenly swelled and hardened on the one side, and Jezebel is now at almost two weeks. We'll see what happens. It seems that with a few of the goats, their original lump was going away when I gave the booster, and then it got big and painful again after the second shot. I really hate these delayed reactions. If they're going to react, I wish it would start right away so I didn't have to spend two weeks checking and fearing the worst, and then spend the next two weeks dealing with whatever "the worst" is.
Honestly. Whats up with that vaccine! This is the future. What you're describing sounds like results from a smallpox vaccine that I'd create if I got sent back in time 300 years. I mean, I know how they work in theory, and its possible I'd be better at making one than the leech-and-bleeding doctors back then, but at the same time I don't think you'd want to be my first test subject.
Yeah, I'm not real pleased with these reactions. At least next year I only have to do this once. It's the two-week booster that seems to be causing most of the problems, which is what the fellow at Texas Vet Labs said would probably be the case. I'm hoping that Finn and Delilah will heal quickly now that their abscesses are draining. Both look much better already, but poor Delilah won't let me come near her after last night's ordeal and it took me a long time with a grain bucket to convince her to come close enough where I could grab her collar. I'll probably have to have Phil catch her for me from now on, poor girl.

Cuzco didn't really get a first lump until after I gave the booster, and then the first injection site developed a small abscess the very next day. This morning it was close to the surface and gooshy in the center, so I lanced and drained it. A lot of stuff came out for such a small knot! But Cuzco is a steady old trooper and stood very nicely for the operation. He's the first goat that I haven't had restrain in the stanchion or with a halter snubbed up close to the fence. It's funny that my biggest, strongest, most ornery goat is the easiest to work with when it comes to uncomfortable procedures. Go figure!

I hope that this whole mess is worth it. I have to admit, it's a lot better to drain sterile abscesses that I know are not CL than to have to ever deal with the real disease. I hope the vaccine does its job and protects these guys, but I also hope that a better one comes along soon. I feel like my poor goats are test subjects, but I hope that in the end we help further the science. If no one buys the vaccine, there will be little motivation to spend the time and money to improve it--and I really want them to improve it!

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)