Lesions in sheep following administration of a vaccine of a Freund's complete adjuvant nature used in the control of ovine paratuberculosis

Lesions in sheep following administration of a vaccine of a Freund's complete adjuvant nature used in the control of ovine paratuberculosis
Peer reviewed


CASE HISTORIES: Occurrences of adverse reactions in seven sheep flocks in Australia following vaccination against paratuberculosis where veterinary attention was requested are reviewed. All cases occurred within the 3-year period following commencement of use of a vaccine of a Freund’s complete adjuvant nature, at a time when approximately six million doses of vaccine had been administered.
CLINICAL FINDINGS: In the first case, 26/58 (45%) Merino sheep vaccinated as adults had palpable tissue reactions at or near the site of vaccination; enlarged prescapular lymph nodes were palpated in 17 (29%), and nine (16%) sheep had both palpable lesions at the site of vaccination and enlarged prescapular lymph nodes. The reactions included caseous nodules up to 5.5 cm in diameter. In the other cases, fistulating or granulomatous wounds were occasionally found at the recommended site of injection behind the ear, and myiasis was rare. Occurrences of inappropriate choice of injection site were recorded, including injection into the axilla of two Merino rams, and lesions in the tissues of the maxilla and nose of almost 50% of 350 Border Leicester lambs. Four outbreaks of progressive paralysis due to injection into cervical musculature were reported, described as ‘OJD staggers’ by producers.
DIAGNOSIS: Granulomatous cellulitis and lymphadenitis associated with oil droplets typical of ‘oil granulomata’. Injection of vaccine into the dorsal cervical area resulted in progressive paralysis due to myonecrosis and suspected granulomatous leptomeningitis.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE AND CONCLUSIONS: Although lesions at and near the site of injection are common, adverse reactions to vaccination were rare and included mortality from cervical spinal injection, production losses from injection in the maxilla or axilla or if myiasis resulted, and potential marketing losses if animals or carcasses are discounted as a result of the lesions. Risk factors for adverse reactions included inadequate restraint of sheep, breed of sheep, experience of the operator, poor injection technique, and inappropriate placement of vaccine. Increasing attention to the proper restraint of animals, restricting vaccination to the recommended site behind the ear, careful placement of the vaccine into subcutaneous tissue to avoid drainage of vaccine material into tissues such as the spinal cord, and post-vaccination supervision to address welfare concerns should adverse reactions occur are recommended.
KEY WORDS: Paratuberculosis, sheep, vaccination, adverse reaction, granuloma, paralysis

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