Farm dog vaccinations
Vaccinations are a critical part of maintaining the health of your working team, as much as regular worming and flea treatments.
Even if no other dogs come onto your property, parvovirus (parvo), and to a lesser extent kennel cough, can be brought on through contaminated clothing or equipment.
Protocols may differ a little between regions, so please discuss with your local clinic.
Puppies aren't fully protected until they have had at least two vaccinations with the last at 14-16 weeks of age. This is because antibodies from the bitch stay in the pups for a variable time, but up to approximately 15 weeks in some puppies. These antibodies provide partial protection from disease but also soak up the vaccine so it doesn't have full effect. Pups also need a booster at one year of age to ensure protection is complete.
When to start?
If you have had a history of parvo on your property, or the bitch has lapsed with her vaccines, then starting at six weeks of age is best. Otherwise starting at eight weeks is generally recommended.
DHPPi vaccinations (distemper/hepatitis/parvovirus/parainfluenza virus) are a modified live virus vaccine. The virus has been processed so that it can no longer cause disease but does produce a strong immune response. As a result, it can be given every two to three years once the primary puppy course and yearly booster have been completed.
Lepto vaccinations are killed bacterin vaccines, which tend to produce an antibody response that only lasts for around 12 months and must be repeated yearly. If they are overdue by more than three months then a booster is required four weeks later to ensure full protection.
There is some risk of Kennel cough for farm dogs, especially when dog teams from outside the area are brought in to help at busy times of year. It is very contagious and can lay low whole teams of dogs within a week or two. A vaccination is available but if your dog team is ‘closed' then risk of this disease is reduced.
If you are at all in doubt please contact your veterinarian for further information.