Clostridia are bacteria that live in the soil and on decaying vegetation.

Therefore, it is inevitable that grazing livestock are going to come into contact with clostridia at some point of the year on most farms.

Clostridial diseases that are most commonly known to farmers include black leg, tetanus, pulpy kidney, redwater, struck, braxy and black disease to name a few.

On dairy calf to beef farms, a clostridial vaccination is fairly standard practice.

The vaccination only costs around €2.50/calf in total for both shots.

Booster shot vital

While many farmers will give the first dose when calves are still housed prior to turnout, it is important that a second booster shot is given four to six weeks later.

It is from this second shot that the majority of the immunity comes from and it really is a worthwhile handling of cattle to administer it.

There is nothing more frustrating than rearing an animal up to September or October and then to go out one morning to find it dead in the field due to a clostridial disease when it is quite easy to protect against.

Risk periods

The biggest risk periods to stock for clostridial diseases is where stock come into contact with soil.

Therefore, wet weather and poor grazing conditions are high risk periods, as is a fresh reseed during its first grazing where some soil can be ingested by stock.

Remember, after an initial two-dose programme, stock will require a booster typically at 12-month intervals.

However, this can be reduced to six months to cover higher-risk periods if required in some cases.