Many diseases affect goats in Kenya. Some are readily treatable and may not be a cause for concern because drugs are available at local stores. However some do not respond to treatments or cannot be treated at all.
These diseases if not contolled can cause major economic losses. One of the common control methods is vaccinations.
Goats have many diseases that can be checked through vaccinations. The most common and important are Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), Clostridial diseases, sore mouth (orf), rabies, pneumonia, chlamydia and others. Majority of farmers in Kenya do not vaccinate their goats although it is a necessary precaution to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
As a goat farmer it is important to know which diseases are prevalent in your area and make arrangements for vaccinations. This will save you from losses arising from death or treatments. You may not require to vaccinate against all the diseases listed here but the first and the second are important, even without an outbreak.
Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP)
This disease caused by Mycoplasma bacteria that causes major economic losses in many African countries has been positively diagnosed in many parts of Kenya. The disease is devastating because it spreads very fast and kills most of the affected goats. The disease which occurs in epidemics is spread by close contact among goats and may be very difficult to eradicate once it sets in. The use of antibiotics may be very expensive in large herds and most of the times ineffecive. However if early signs are detected, the disease can be treated by use of streptomycin antibiotic on the third day of temperature rise. Some goats may recover on their own from the disease if they are not subjected to stress. One dose of CCPP vaccine administered subcutaneously is enough to confer lifetime immunity to the goat.
The main ones are enterotoxaemia and tetanus. These include Clostridial diseases are caused by the clostridium bacteria which are widespread in the environment, normally found in soils and faeces and in the alimentary tract and body tissues of healthy animals. The diseases strikes suddenly killing the animal before any signs can be noticed.
CDT vaccine is a combined vaccine against clostridium t type C and D and tetanus. The vaccine is administered subcutaneously to prevent enterotoxaemia and tetanus. Goats are highly susceptible to these diseases and should therefore be vaccinated against them. Vaccination twice a year is recommended. Pregnant animals should be vaccinated one month prior to kidding and kids vaccinated at about 12 weeks repeated 4 weeks later. The dose is the same for both adults and kids, about 2ml injection.
Sore mouth (Orf)
Sore mouth is also known as contagious ecthyma. Sore mouth is vaccine is a live vaccine which should be used only when the animals show signs of the disease. If administered before any signs the animals may be affected and may spread the disease across the herd. Vaccinate pregnant animals ahead of kidding and vaccination should be done annually to all animals.
Vaccinations for the other diseases are done on a need basis especially where there is a reported outbreak of the disease. . Farmers can vaccinate their goats against abortion caused by Chlamydia. Goats are vaccinated annually and given a boost a month before they start breeding.
Pneumonia is a common killer of goats. Vaccinate the goats at 3 months of age and repeat after two to four weeks subcutaneously.
Rabies is spread through a bite from an infected animal. Cases of rabies are widespread in the country and farmers should vaccinate their goats whenever such outbreaks arise.
It is important to note that vaccines do not work 100% all the time. They just stimulate the production of antibodies against a specific disease and do not offer any protection. It takes about a month for the antibodies to be produced and the animal must be healthy. The antibodies produced have long term protection against the disease but some might require boosting by a second or more doses of the vaccine.