Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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WORM VACCINE

Vaccinating Goats Against Worms

Researchers have been experimenting with vaccines that prevent worm infection in goats for several years. Dr. Jim Miller, parasitologist at Louisiana State University, has been kind enough to provide information and understanding of this concept. Dr. Miller worked with Dr. David Smith from 2000-2005 testing these "hidden gut" antigens made into vaccine form on goats and sheep at Louisiana State University.

The antigens (proteins) used in the vaccine are extracted from the hidden gut of Haemonchus contortus, the barberpole stomach worm. To do this, a lot of worms must be obtained, and that requires a large number of goats. Because it is so time consuming, it is also very costly. These antigens cause an immune response where antibodies are produced and circulate in the goat's blood. When the worm sucks the goat's blood, the antibodies attack the gut proteins in the worm, either killing the worm or making it so "uncomfortable" that it is expelled from the goat's body.

Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? Well, it is -- but here is the drawback. Most vaccines are made with antigens (proteins) that are normally exposed to the goat's immune system during infection. When the goat is vaccinated for the first time, the immune system is primed to recognize and attack when reinfection occurs. Such a response is called anamnestic because it recognizes and responds to reinfection with a primed immune system.

A hidden gut vaccine does not cause an anamnestic response because the antigens are "hidden" in the worm gut and are not normally exposed to the goat's immune system to induce immunity when goat is reinfected.

Therefore, a hidden gut vaccine has to be given repeatedly (three or four times, about four weeks apart) to keep antibody levels high enough to produce any long-term immunity to the worm. While the concept of a hidden gut worm vaccine sounds good, currently it is too costly to produce for the small population of goats and sheep in the USA.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 4/6/15

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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