Grim News

It has been a bad spring here for tetanus. The 4 bred dairy does we bought from another farm last November were 2 years old and unvaccinated for Clostridial disease, as their owner did not generally vaccinate. They did well for months, then had their kids in January. This was six weeks earlier than we expected, and we had not vaccinated them — we usually vaccinate a month before kidding. In late February we found one of the new does down with what looked like tetanus. We immediately vaccinated the other 3 does and gave the sick one a hefty amount of antitoxin, but to no avail. One by one, they each died over the ensuing month. The last one’s death was a real blow, as she initially seemed to recover. (That’s her in the picture; we had been keeping her warm under a blanket, bringing her hay and water. Each night she was the the preferred sleeping spot for our youngest kids — warm and still.) None of our home stock got ill, nor did the unfortunate does’ seven kids, who we also vaccinated. It is a mystery why they all got the disease so suddenly and failed to respond – if not to vaccination (which had little time to take effect) – then to antitoxin. Though we have lost a few vaccinated does to tetanus in yeas past, it was nothing on this scale. Was this predictable and were we just stupid for not vaccinating them immediately upon their arrival to our farm? Probably so.

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