It's worth remembering that many of the diseases we vaccinate our dogs can kill, irrespective of whether your dog is your pet or your prized working dog. Whereas a child with mumps will almost certainly get better, an unvaccinated dog that contracts parvovirus, for example, can easily die. Only vaccination can prevent these diseases.
What diseases do you need to protect against?
Parvovirus (parvo) is of particular importance. It causes severe bloody diarrhoea and is usually deadly.
Infected dogs shed parvovirus in their faeces for three weeks or more. The virus can then survive for months in the environment and be quickly spread between dogs and farms from shoes, clothing and vehicles.
Unfortunately, veterinarians and farmers around the country still regularly deal with outbreaks of parvo in unvaccinated farm dogs. Puppies (under the age of 6 months) are the highest risk of parvo infection.
This is particularly devastating when it is so simple to prevent with vaccination.
Early diagnosis of parvo can increase the chances of survival. Treatment involves hospitalisation and intensive care. Even then, there is no guarantee of survival.
It is very costly from a financial and emotional perspective but also from lost productivity.
Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease caused by several different organisms and results in a persistent dry cough. This may also lead to retching, lethargy, loss of appetite and a fever. These symptoms can have a severe impact on working and competitive dogs. Recovery may take several weeks.
Farm working dogs are at high risk. An outbreak of kennel cough in your dog team is costly and difficult to treat. It will affect the productivity of the affected working dogs.
Leptospirosis (lepto) can be contracted from the urine of brown rats. Signs include a highy temperature, severe thirst, lethargy, diarrhoea and jaundice. Although the disease has been prevalent in the Northern and Central regions of the North Island, it has recently been diagnosed in the Manawatu and Wairarapa. Infection can result in renal and liver malfunction, and if not treated early, is usually fatal.
Lepto can be transmitted to humans, where it can cause a serious illness called Well's disease.
Why is your dog team at risk of infection?
- It is impossible to completely isolate your dogs. There are many external contacts which may introduce infection.
- A large number of pups and young dogs. The majority of parvo cases occur in pups less than 6 months old.
- Living and working as teams. Groups of animals have a high risk for fast spread of infection.
- Mobile population. There are many opportunities for infected or unvaccinated dogs to move into or out of your team, such as when your dog team membership changes, contact with other dogs at dog trials and others dogs visiting on-farm.
Why vaccinate your working dogs?
Your dogs are valuable. They contribute a significant amount of labour on your farm, which means that the cost of a disease outbreak is devastating. Vaccination is the only way to protect your dogs from disease.
Dog vaccination is simple and cost-effective. Protect your investment - talk to Totally Vets about vaccinating your dogs today. Working dog vaccinations can be done at the same time as a farm visit.
Content courtesy of MSD Animal Health