Anthrax Vaccination in Angora Goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson

Wednesday, 19th August 2020

Anthrax is currently not a threat in the Angora goat producing areas of the Karoo but there have been outbreaks in Lesotho so it is important to keep in mind.

There have been a number of cases of deaths in goats, associated with anthrax vaccination or occurring after anti-parasitic injectable were given.

Live vaccines have to be a careful balance between being immunogenic, but no longer virulent. Although the anthrax vaccine strain is relatively safe in most farm animals, it remains quite virulent for goats.

Vaccinated goats usually form large swellings at the injection site, and if injected in the neck, the swelling may hinder respiration or occlude the large veins and arteries, and this may lead to death. It is crucial to warn farmers about this, and to ensure that goats are vaccinated in the inner thigh.

It is important to keep multi-use syringes used for anthrax vaccines separate, and never use them for oily preparations, such as some anti-parasitics and oil-based vaccines, when injecting goats. A very few anthrax spores from vaccination may be left behind in the syringe after cleaning, as spores are resistant. The oil acts as an adjuvant, and allows the vaccine strain to multiply, often with fatal effects for goats.

Cattle and sheep are usually unaffected. The anthrax vaccine strain is easily cultured from the swelling at the injection site. There is a PCR test which distinguishes between virulent and the vaccine strain of anthrax.

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