Another successful working dog vaccination run is over for Vet Services in Waipukurau for 2022.
Nicole Lansdown, BVSc
This annual run is held from August to October and involves vets and nurses heading out on farm to give working dog teams a check over and vaccination. This year free bloods were also on offer to check dogs over the age of 6 years old to ensure these older dogs were in top shape before the season began.
There was fantastic uptake of this offer from farmers with 210 dogs sampled. From this the following results were seen:
- 66% dogs had at least one abnormality in their blood work
- The most common anomalies seen were low calcium, followed by an increase in sodium and decrease in creatinine
- 10% of dogs have been seen since for a variety of reasons
- The oldest dog sampled was a 15 year old heading dog- still working!
Most of the abnormalities noted in these bloods were not life threatening but do give us an interesting picture of our working dogs. Some of the abnormalities may be due to the difference in populations; most reference ranges are formulated using “town” dogs results which may be a slightly different to working dogs. The most common change was mild decreases in calcium with 40% of dogs sampled showing this. Hypocalcaemia is most commonly seen in dogs with gut issues, kidney issues and lactation. No dogs sampled had any history of these issues and most were otherwise healthy. After further follow up with the lab this may again be due to population differences or may be a seasonal change. The decrease in creatinine is 20% of dogs was also interesting- this is commonly seen in animals with low muscle mass which is not the case in most dogs sampled.
Overall this was a fantastic tool to ensure the health of the older working dog population. Arthritis is still one of the most common diseases seen in working dogs, and medication can extend both their quality of life and lifespan. This medication can have some side effects on kidney and liver function so these bloods have ensured we are able to prescribe medication confident there is no underlying disease.
We look forward to seeing you all again next season, and in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions related to working dog health, feeding or management.