Deer are sensitive to clostridial diseases, and vaccination with clostridial toxoids is the method of choice to prevent these infections in ruminants. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the serologic responses in red deer (Cervus elaphus) over a 13-mo period after vaccination with a multivalent clostridial vaccine, containing an aluminium hydroxide adjuvant. Antibody production to the Clostridium perfringens type D epsilon toxin component of the vaccine was measured using an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Animals from group 1 (9 mo old; n = 6) were naïve and received an initial vaccination with a booster vaccine 4 wk apart and one annual booster. Animals from group 2 (21 mo old; n = 10) had been previously vaccinated 12 mo prior and received a first annual booster at the beginning of this study and a second annual booster 12 mo later. The multivalent clostridial vaccine induced a high antibody response that peaked after each injection and then slowly decreased with time. In group 1, a booster vaccine was required to obtain an initial high humoral response. The annual booster injection induced a strong, rapid, and consistent anamnestic response in both groups. The serologic responses persisted significantly over the baseline value for 9–12 mo in group 1, but more than 12 mo in group 2. It is unknown whether the measured humoral immune responses would have been protective as no challenge studies were performed. Further investigation is needed to determine the protective antibody titers to challenge and how long this immunity might persist after vaccination.
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