by Dr. Rachel Endecott

 

This month, we’ll focus on calfhood vaccination programs, which are most often based around the clostridial diseases. Producers may add other vaccines (pinkeye, H. somnus or other respiratory vaccines etc.) depending on their situation and veterinarian recommendations.

Clostridial diseases in calfhood vaccines belong to same genus as tetanus and botulism. Clostridial organisms are generally found in the animal’s body, but with ideal conditions, grow very rapidly to cause a disease state. Because of this, affected animals are usually found dead, not sick. Thus, prevention of disease through vaccination is a better approach than treatment. Here is a brief overview of each strain:

Clostridium chauvoei causes blackleg, which presents as air-filled swelling in heavy muscle that will crackle when palpated. There is no history of wounds with blackleg, unlike the next strain.

Clostridium septicum causes malignant edema, which results from contamination of wounds. Unlike, blackleg, malignant edema causes so􀅌, fluid-filled swellings that pit on pressure. Large amounts of fluid are found in both subcutaneous and intramuscular connective tissue.

Clostridium haemolyticum causes redwater disease, also known as bacillary hemoglobinuria. Latent organisms lodge in the liver, waiting for localized cell death which is most often caused by liver flukes. C. haemolyticum produces beta-toxin, which ruptures red blood cells, leading to anemia and the presence of hemoglobin in the urine, hence the name redwater.

 

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