For most herbivores in areas with known problems, yearly vaccinations against botulism, anthrax and some of the clostridial diseases such as blackquarter are very important. Rabies vaccinations can become important with an outbreak of the disease where there are highly endangered and/or expensive species in the area.
This is a very important group of bacteria that is ubiquitous in nature. All animals are susceptible but the herbivores are more commonly affected. The main bacteria in this group causing disease include:
1. Clostridium botulinum (Botulism)
2. C. chavoei (Blackleg/Blackquarter)
3. C. sordellii (Gas gangrene)
4. C. novyi (Black disease)
5. C. perfringens type C and D (Enterotoxaemia)
6. C. septicum (Malignant oedema)
7. C. tetani (Tetanus)
The different syndromes are in most cases fatal if not treated early enough but animals are often found dead without any symptoms seen beforehand. The animals often die peracutely. The treatment of botulism is seldom successful even when the antitoxin is administered. In wildlife botulism is probably one of the more important clostridial diseases as wildlife are often not exposed to the predisposing factors associated with the other syndromes. Animals such as giraffe and sable is known to eat old bones during especially winter when their diet is phosphorus deficient. When wildlife however is captured and confined to a boma, they are more predisposed to the other clostridial diseases. Animals often fight in the bomas and blackquarter or malignant oedema can become a problem. The diet changes drastically and the animals can develop other problems, such as enterotoxaemia. Whenever wildlife is stressed and exposed to abnormal situations, they are as prone to diseases as any other domestic animal. It becomes then important to vaccinate animals against the possible diseases. It is however important but impractical to vaccinate animals two to three weeks before capture and confinement but in very rare or expensive animals it might be worth the input. A booster vaccination is advisable four to seven weeks after the initial vaccination. Animals captured and put into bomas are routinely given antibiotics to prevent problems such as pneumonia or abscesses developing but this is contra-indicated in the case of vaccinating animals with live vaccines.Most of the clostridial vaccine combinations however are inactivated and it is not contra-indicated in those cases.
Different vaccines exist on the market in different combinations. Onderstepoort Biological Products produces formalinised, inactivated “Black Quarter”, “Botulism”, “Clostridium septicum”, “Combined Botulism/Black quarter”, “Enterotoxaemia”, “Gas Gangrene Complex ”, “Lamb Dysentery”, “Swelled Head” and “Tetanus” vaccines. Intervet produces inactivated vaccines such as “Botuvax”, “Duovax”, “Multiclos”, “Multivax-P” (which includes Pasteurella haemolytica), “Pulpyvax”, “Sponsvax” and “Supavax” (which includes Bacillus anthracis). Cooper (Afrivet) produces “Covexin 10”, “Ovivax 6” (which includes Levamisole, a dewormer) and “Tasvax PK Plus”. Phizer AH produces “One Shot Ultra 7” (which includes Pasteurella haemolytica) and “Ultrachoice 7”. Fort Dodge (Bayer AH) produces “Cydectin Eweguard” which includes moxidectin.
Equidae, Rhinoceridae, Proboscidea
Brucellosis (Brucella abortus)
Different vaccines are on the market for use in cattle and other domestic stock, such as Brucella S19 (OBP) and RB51 (Schering-Plough) for cattle and Brucella Rev 1 (OBP) for goats and sheep. These are all live vaccines and the efficacy and safety of these vaccines have not been proven in any wildlife species. Brucella S19 has caused bison to abort and shed live virus while RB51 didn’t provide proper protection to bison with a few reported cases of abortions. The use of these vaccines needs to be properly tested in the different species for its safety and efficacy before widespread use is advocated. It is also a controlled disease in South Africa and any vaccine that might interfere with testing results are not allowed to be used. RB51 has been used in one or two small buffalo herds in South Africa but this was not part of any controlled vaccine trials.
Foot and mouth disease
Vaccination of buffalo calves has proven to be unsuccessful and a different vaccine will need to be developed. An ideal vaccine wouldn’t need the animal to be captured for vaccination, e.g. a vaccine that could be administered orally or through expression of the antigens in microbial vectors would be ideal.
Diseases in Zoo Animals
In a zoo situation animals might develop problems such as pasteurellosis (Pasteurella haemolytica, P. multocida): “Shipping fever” but this is not common in extensive situations. Corona and rotavirus infections can also become a problem in situations where high numbers of animals are kept in small areas. Different vaccines are on the market for these conditions in cattle but have not been tested in wildlife for their safety or efficacy.