If you intend to ensure a healthy herd, you'll have to vaccinate your goats against diseases that commonly afflict them. Vaccinations come in two forms: "modified live" and "killed" viruses, doses small enough to not cause the disease to develop but large enough to cause the immune system to develop antibodies against them. The antibodies will attack the disease should your goats contract it, for a time.
Vaccinate your goats with the core or primary vaccinations of CD&T, or Clostridium perfringens C and D plus tetanus. Clostridium perfringens C and D causes goat enterotoxemia, or overeating disease. This fatal disease affects kids primarily but may affect adult goats as well. Symptoms include sudden death, depression, lack of appetite, failure to ruminate, inactive rumen, inability to stand, lying on one side and kicking, and staggering as though drunk.
The bacterium Clostridium tetani causes tetanus. This disease causes muscle stiffness, unsteady gait, inability to drink or eat, convulsions, respiratory paralysis and death. Goats contract this disease through wounds or cuts exposed to soil or other items that host the bacteria.
Other vaccines that may be right for certain goats include immunizations against rabies, sore mouth or contagious ecthyma, caseous lymphandentitis, foot rot and pneumonia. Caseous lymphandentitis and pneumonia vaccinations are approved for other livestock, but goat owners and vets use them off-label to vaccinate goats. Talk with a knowledgeable goat veterinarian for recommendations and an appropriate vaccination schedule.
Adult Vaccination Schedule
Vaccinate your pregnant does or female goats during their last month of pregnancy to assure good immunization for the kids. Have bucks, or male goats, vaccinated the same time as the does. Yearlings, or does that are not bred, and wethers -- castrated males -- should be vaccinated yearly on the same date they received their previous vaccination.
Vaccinate kids whose mothers were vaccinated during the last month of pregnancy at 4 to 8 weeks after birth. Boost their vaccinations three weeks later, and then vaccinate them again in three to four weeks. Another protocol recommends vaccinating them at 5 to 6 weeks and boosting it three or four weeks later. If the kid didn't receive its mom's colostrum -- a special kind of milk that provides immunity for the kid -- or if you don't know the doe's vaccination schedule, you should vaccinate the kid at the age of 1 to 3 weeks and again three to four weeks later.