They can be helpful in herds that have a KNOWN abortion problem. They are not recommended otherwise. Not only are they added expense, but there are many reasons why sheep and goats abort and using vaccines is only a SMALL PART of an abortion prevention program. Without other management in place, vaccines will likely fail. The point of many of these vaccines is not to prevent infection or shedding in all cases, but to PREVENT ABORTION. Those are two different things. If vaccinated animals are exposed to infective agent, they will often become infected. They may not abort, however. That being said, if you go a few years without abortions and think you're in the clear and stop vaccinating young stock - well, a storm can quickly occur.
Buy stock from herds without a history of abortion problems. Avoid animals with unknown histories such as sale barn animals.
Keep in mind some abortive diseases are STD's. Keeping a closed herd, testing rams for some diseases (like Brucella ovis), and minimizing your risk of bringing in a disease is often a best bet.
ISOLATE any aborting animals IMMEDIATELY. Keep them separate from the rest of the herd for at least 2 weeks. Abortive materials and discharges (and often milk!) can all be highly contagious.
REFRIGERATE (DO NOT FREEZE) aborted fetuses AND PLACENTAS and contact a veterinarian about diagnostics ASAP during an abortion storm. Placentas are extremely important and lead to most of the abortion diagnosis BUT are the MOST COMMONLY FORGOTTEN tissue submitted. Leads to a lot of 'false negative' results for abortion screens.
Keep in mind that abortive diseases can be a storm or an ongoing problem that can be hard to manage. One abortion can lead to dozens the next year. One kidding/lambing season is usually not indicative of how safe your ewes/does are from having an abortion the next season. Each abortion storm should be worked up, as it could very well be a new pathogen causing the trouble.
MANY OF THE ABORTIVE DISEASES ARE ZOONOTIC. It is highly recommended that ALL BIRTHING TISSUES AND SECRETIONS are NOT handled by pregnant women. Even seemingly normal birthings if the herd has a history of abortions! Pregnant women should likely not be on kid watch. (nor drink unpasteurized milk). Something often done and probably safer in a small intensely managed herd - but know your risk. In a dynamic commercial herd starting out with new animals or even one that's growing and buying/selling does/ewes/rams/lambs, it is a very high risk. If you refrigerate birthing materials, do so in an accessory refrigerator for livestock equipment/medications.
As for all the diseases, I worry most about abortive diseases in my goat herd. Yes, more so than the other diseases everyone worries about (CL, CAE, Johnes). They're expensive, zoonotic, sometimes hard to test for, and hard to manage.
Merck has a good intro synopsis into abortive diseases for sheep and goats.
So excited to learn from you! Best of all, another said you are going to Vet school!!!! Awesome, a real person who loves and raises goats going to be the best expert and still helping out us small herd farmers, hobby farmers and all! Thank you!!!
Great advice-we will read up and see what we can learn! Might have more questions of course, but lots to learn
I️ feel we learned of these vaccines too late for this round, but may consider them for the future!?!
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