Clostridial Vaccines

Clostridial diseases are a group of infections that cause sudden death in animals. There are dozens of different Clostridial species, some of these diseases are common and well known such as tetanus and blackleg, however, there are many diseases that you’ve never heard of and range from common to very rare.

Different animal species vary in their susceptibility to Clostridial diseases. For example, goats and Camelids such as alpacas/llamas are very susceptible to contracting Clostridial diseases and protection is essential. Horses are very prone to catching tetanus necessitating strong protection via vaccination. Cats and dogs are reasonably resilient against Clostridial disease and infection is uncommon. Cattle and sheep fall somewhere in between. Losses can be severe in situations where environmental conditions are right causing distress to the affected animals and financial losses to the farmer.

All Clostridial diseases cause death very rapidly with death normally occurring before the animals are even noticed. Even if the disease is noticed then treatment is usually futile. Clostridial spores can survive in the soil indefinitely and are very resistant to most disinfectants. Control of these diseases, therefore, relies on vaccination.

Vaccination has been around for decades and is generally very effective; however, the vaccine will only cover the diseases that are vaccinated for. Traditionally we have used 5in1 vaccine, this covers the 5 most common Clostridial diseases, namely; Tetanus, Blackleg, Pulpy Kidney, Black Disease and Malignant Oedema.

5in1 is very good at preventing these diseases however as mentioned above there are several other Clostridial diseases that are not protected against by 5in1. This may be significant on some farms with reports of ‘sudden death’ being of great frustration to farmers. This gap in protection has led to the development of several other Clostridial vaccines with a range of names. All have their pro and cons, and deciding which one is best for your farm is best done in consultation with your vet who knows your farming system and which vaccine is best for you.

One of the more recent vaccines that we promote for cattle is 6in1, this vaccine covers the same bacteria as 5in1 plus a bacteria called Clostridium sordelli. This bacteria has been found to cause significant numbers of sudden deaths in cattle on some farms. Another vaccine we commonly use at Franklin Vets is 7in1, this vaccine covers for the 5 bacteria found in 5in1 plus 2 strains of Leptospirosis. As this vaccine covers for Lepto it is only available under veterinary prescription.

8in1 vaccine is new to the market, again it has the 5 standard bacterial strains found in 5in1 plus 3 other strains that can cause significant issues in sheep and goats, as this vaccine is most commonly used in sheep.


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