Clostridia are a group of bacteria that cause several diseases in livestock. Pulpy kidney (enterotoxaemia) is the most important clostridial disease which can cause problems when young animals first go onto a brassica crop. It is quite rare in cattle but more common in sheep, particularly lambs under the age of 6 months.
- Affected animals are usually found dead, typically after a sudden change of diet from poor quality to good quality feed, including brassica crops. This is the main reason animals should be vaccinated well before going onto a crop.
- A veterinarian will provide the appropriate advice and recommendations as to the use of clostridial vaccines.
- An appropriate vaccine is one that offers protection against five major clostridial diseases: pulpy kidney, black leg, black disease, malignant oedema and tetanus.
- Importantly, animals should be vaccinated at least 10–14 days before going onto the crop, as it takes several days for animals to develop an immune response to the vaccine and to gain protection against the bacteria.