Vaccinating and antibiotics

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Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Pig Whisperer on April 1st 2014, 2:38 pm

I am curious to hear your opinions on vaccinating livestock and companion animals.

I vaccinate my breeding stock twice a year with a 3 in 1 called Farrowsure. As long as my herd is healthy and doesn't show signs of any illness, I don't feel the need to vaccinate against anything else. I will also deworm them 2 times a year. When it comes to the feeder pigs, I don't vaccinate against anything. I haven't raised feeders to over 250 lbs but believe I'd deworm once, depending on the season.

I went 2 years unvaccinated with my pigs and then got hit by the Parvovirus. I had 5 or 6 litters that were completely mummified. I also had another couple litters with 1 or 2 born alive. It became a real hassle trying to keep the sows milking with so few weanlings. It was a hard pill to swallow when I lost over $4000 in weanlings when I could of vaccinated my herd for $60.  No After doing some research, I found that 85% of pigs will eventually contract the parvovirus in their life. Sows will build up an immunity naturally but there will be breakouts every 4-5 years. Maybe if you have 1 or 2 sows you can chance it, but it's too big a risk when you have more sows.

When it comes to treatments, I usually try to hold off a day or two to see how things go. If things aren't going well, I'm more than willing to give a pig antibiotics to help with an injury or illness. I know I've saved a couple of my animals with serious injuries. Pigs can be nasty to each other at times and injuries do occur when your group housing them.       

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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by randiliana on April 1st 2014, 8:24 pm

We run cattle, I certainly believe in vaccinations and in using antibiotics when necessary. We had a run in with BVD a number of years ago, and since vaccinating for it we no longer have any issues. I think that as long as dosages and withdrawal times are followed that there really isn't an issue with using them.
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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Davinci on April 2nd 2014, 3:03 am

I keep poultry, I do not vaccinate them against anything. I also do not treat with antibiotic at the first sign of a sniff or sniffle. In fact, I have never given my birds an antibiotic ever, aside from medicated chick starter. I don't even use that anymore.

This topic came up somewhere else and I think it's a big issue with many possible scenarios. I think if you keep animals in a way that compromises their health, mentally and physically, then you are going to have to depend on vaccines to keep your heard/flock alive. If animals are kept in realistic settings, at realistic population densities, then you will not likely suffer high losses to disease.

It also matters whether your animals are sold live or as carcasses. And if you plan to sell to a broader market, or just breed birds in the backyard for fun. All this will affect a person's decisions concerning vaccines. Every situation is different.

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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by niglefritz on April 2nd 2014, 9:24 am

We have not vaccinated our animals here except for the cats and dogs. We have not had any issues that would have been prevented by a vaccine as of yet. As Davinci says, we are raising our animals for "fun". Yeah...it is more as fun (that would be the birds & horse) and to save some cash (the cows).

Medication, yes, we will use that if there is no other recourse. We will try other things first. We want to keep things as natural as possible, especially in the products that we will consume.

We won't vaccinate the horse for West Nile, even with all of the hype every year. We know many who do not do it either and have never had issues even when there were millions of supposed WN carrier mosquitos around. We have read that the vaccine can harm fetuses as well resulting in physical defects, even if the horse was vaccinated long beforehand. This is something we would rather avoid anyway.

I do agree that everyone has their own reasons why/why not, and sometimes they do change depending on the situation and what is actually at stake.
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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Sweetened on April 2nd 2014, 9:58 am

I am very much a: Nature's been doing it this way for billions of years because it works type of person. I believe vaccines, in the long run, allow animals to be bred with immunity issues that would have otherwise been weeded out by natural loss/dieoff. You cannot breed for resistance or immunity in vaccinated animals. You will never know the survivability rate of an outbreak (or if there even WAS one) if your animals are vaccinated. Just because your animals are vaccinated for Parvo or Cocci or Mareks doesn't mean they won't get it, don't have it, aren't carriers. However, I don't judge those that do vaccinate, it's their choice.

I treat organically except in extreme emergencies or with a difficult parasitic overload (namely scaly leg mite) at which time I will drop some conventional meds down like thor's hammer. I do this, again, because I respect nature's thus-far successful venture, but I accept that our 50 years of chemical medication has it's place for emergency use.

Things die and falter, diseases come and go. Very rarely, even in the wild, are entire populations destroyed by a disease. Even if 2 or 3 of a large herd or bevy or murder or flock survive an outbreak, they are able to repopulate a resistant set of animals who will be hardier and more immune to illness. This is how the world is. It's a harsh and unforgiving mistress and every single loss from illness or disease hurts.

I mainly provide supportive care if sniffles or coughs or even scours break out. I treat the gut first and work from there. If a few of my go to methods (treat gut, fill animal with oregano oil, flush system with aloe vera juice and so on) fail, I will turn to conventional medicine at that time depending on the animal's condition. I have, a couple times, chosen to harvest the animal instead, for many reasons.

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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Chickenlady on April 2nd 2014, 10:57 am

I am with you there Sweetened, nature does do this thing, however our herds don't really live anymore as nature intended them to live.
I think if you are keeping cattle/pigs for consumption, and you have large herds. it might be a wise thing to do.

When they would have lived as they would have lived "natures way" they would have been able to roam around and not even visited the same grass twice.
The way we live now...they do, because we have to fence them in and they stay in that pasture, contaminating with the same bacteria over and over again.

So some caution is necessary that way.

Now going to my goats..other then de worming I don't give them anything. If they get sick..then of course I would give them medication or get the vet out.
My chickens I don't vaccinate them..not sure if the hatchery does actually (Berg's hatchery in Brandon, MB)

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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by niglefritz on April 2nd 2014, 11:22 am

Yes, I do believe that Berg's does vaccinate chicks before they send them out. They are out of Russell.
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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Pig Whisperer on April 2nd 2014, 12:47 pm

Having good biosecurity protocols and buying stock from respectable breeders is probably the best way to keep our animals safe and healthy.

I believe my issue began because I had some animals that were vaccinated and bought a bunch more sows which were never vaccinated. All my hogs that were vaccinated were sero positive so once the unvaccinated sows were exposed there was a large flare up.

I'm sure parvovirus has differing affects on other livestock but if I vaccinate sows prior to breeding there will be zero symptoms come farrowing time. When it comes to erysipelas or
leptospirosis I'm not sure as I've never experienced them within my herd.



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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by randiliana on April 2nd 2014, 1:26 pm

Davinci wrote:I keep poultry, I do not vaccinate them against anything. I also do not treat with antibiotic at the first sign of a sniff or sniffle. In fact, I have never given my birds an antibiotic ever, aside from medicated chick starter. I don't even use that anymore.

This topic came up somewhere else and I think it's a big issue with many possible scenarios. I think if you keep animals in a way that compromises their health, mentally and physically, then you are going to have to depend on vaccines to keep your heard/flock alive. If animals are kept in realistic settings, at realistic population densities, then you will not likely suffer high losses to disease.

It also matters whether your animals are sold live or as carcasses. And if you plan to sell to a broader market, or just breed birds in the backyard for fun. All this will affect a person's decisions concerning vaccines. Every situation is different.

You are right, Davinci, that it is a big issue... And for sure you guys with small (and possibly isolated) flocks/herds etc, probably won't ever see an issue as long as you do not, or are careful when bringing other animals into your flock/herd. But I know a lot of operations that call their herd's/flock's closed without ever considering who or what borders them.

Now, I'm going to sound like I think you're nuts for not vaccinating..... But really I don't care what you do with your own animals or family, it is your choice. I do believe in vaccinations, but not that we need vaccinations for every single disease out there (like seriously CHICKEN POX)! I won't go in for that one, and I don't get the FLU vaccine either, I think there are people who need those ones for sure, but don't really believe that the general population requires them. Actually, I think a little DIRT would make a lot of people healthier. Now, on to my soapbox...

There sure is a lot of hype these days about what is and isn't good.... Some of it for sure is real, but I think a lot of it is just that, hype. Vaccinations have been under a lot of pressure, they are of course bad for us.... I mean there is a chance that you could react to the vaccine, or some vague unknown thing could happen, death even, true enough.... but really what if say, Smallpox, were to be resurrected? I mean it certainly didn't kill 'everyone' that was infected by it, but it sure did decimate a lot of populations. Do you really want to take that chance with yourself or your family? I think a lot of people need to educate themselves, and I mean really educate themselves, not just read the stuff they think is right, but read the stuff that maybe they think is wrong. Open the doors and use a little common sense. Just because someone posts something on Facebook (or here) or even says it in the news, doesn't mean that it is right, or wrong. Seriously, a number of years back, remember how eggs were BAD for you?? Now they're GOOD for you. How many jumped on that bandwagon (probably not too many on this forum), and now are quickly switching sides....

We run a commercial cattle herd, we vaccinate for some things and not for others. The cattle get dewormed and I have no issue using antibiotics when necessary. This doesn't mean that we use them willy-nilly, but I am certainly not afraid to use them when necessary. We eat beef that we raise, and often they are the 'not so perfect' animals. They may have health issues, lameness or just cosmetic issues (that reduce their sale value).

Sweetened, the problem with raising a herd or flock 'as nature intended' is that there is no such thing anymore... Your birds are housed, often penned in (even if it is a large pen), and for certain protected from predators. Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats etc are always fenced in, protected from predators, usually bred to have babies on the human's schedule, weaned on the human's schedule, fed in the winter or whenever there isn't enough feed. None of that is 'as nature intended'. Besides the fact, that who among us can really afford to take the chance that one might lose an entire herd/flock to some disease. I know a lot of people that will sure raise a cry if a predator gets in and decimates a flock/herd, why should we consider vaccinating any different.

Now, a bit of a challenge.....LOL. For those of you who are against vaccinating, and really even for those of us who believe in it. Do some research, talk to a vet, hunt around on the internet for a bit. Find out what diseases are prevalent in your area? What happens to your flock/herd if it happens to become infected? Can it be treated? What can you do to prevent it without vaccinating? Maybe vaccinating is the only way to avoid it... Maybe not.... Then really consider your options....

Let me tell you a little bit about a disease that we vaccinate for, it is one that we had a run in with about 12 years ago. We were just starting to build our herd, of course our cattle were sourced from a number of different places, and at that point we weren't vaccinating at all. Well, one summer we had a 'healthy' cow get sick, stuff happens after all. Well it turns out that she was a PI (persistently infected) cow with BVD (Bovine Viral Diarreah). BVD is a lovely disease.... It can cause, abortions, stillborns, it suppresses the immune system, which makes the animals susceptible to other diseases, reduces gains, and the best one of all.... if it infects a foetus at the right time it just becomes part of the calf (PI). Then the calf is born, often looking healthy, and if things work out, the animal grows like normal, to the point that you might just keep it in your herd as a replacement female or even a bull. Now guess what happens.... this 'healthy' animal goes around spreads the disease wherever it goes. It may NEVER look sick or act sick, but it sheds this wonderful virus around and it starts the circle again.
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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Sweetened on April 2nd 2014, 4:04 pm

I think this has been a good discussion.

I often get that argument that we’re not doing it natures way anymore. I can see that, see where that comes from, but we are also part of nature. The human element isn’t a foreign being to the cycle. We are, historically and physically, omnivorous predators. Our survival mechanisms allow us to influence the area around us, moreso than any other predator on land. If we choose to kill something, it dies, if we choose to manipulate halibut genes into corn, it happens. The problem is, we predate ourselves, our culture cannibalizes itself. That’s the defect of man: superiority, vanity. Our basic survival instincts are, generally, ignored.

Humans have been keeping and raising animals for hundreds, in some places thousands of years. We have selectively bred plants and animals, chosen companions. My opinion is part of the human influence in nature is adapting other species for survival. It could very well be that without the stewardship of certain animals, without the introduction of some species to certain areas, that their geological matrix could have suffered, just as (on the opposite side of the coin) we’ve introduced plants and animals that have become invasive, have changed landscapes.

This is no different than a ruminant species following food, populating a new area. They bring seeds on their hooves, spores and maybe parasites on their skin, the wolves follow them for food. This is not unlike the moose and elk moving south in Saskatchewan. It’s adaptation.

Financially, PI would be understandably devastating to the farmer. It could send them into financial ruin, and the losses would be great, perhaps immeasurable. However, this disease or one similar has likely been around for long before cattle were ever really domesticated and hauled around the world. A feral herd would have suffered severe losses, but those that survived and carried it would eventually breed eachother until an infected cow produced an uninfected, or immune, calf. Over the next several years, immunity due to lack of exposure would slowly go down and the cycle begins again. Believe me, I get it from a financial perspective. I don’t know what I would do in a similar situation, and I believe you made the right decision for you and your farm.

Natures way used to be humans migrating with the food source, following it wherever it went. If there was no food in an area, you didn’t stay. Nomadic cultures, today, still follow herds of elk and reindeer and other such food sources on their migration trail. Being stewards, farmers, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t mean it’s not ‘natures way’. Cement and fences, maybe not, but our survival instinct (when someone listens to it) is food, and assuring its around, whether that means fences (which primitive, untouched but photographed Amazonian cultures have been seen with, corralling wild pigs), or houses, or tents or ropes.

I look at things this way and this way alone: What if there are no access to vaccines? What if all of this that we have as a luxury today goes away. The weather is changing, people are changing and it’s a very real possibility (it always has been). What then? If we haven’t learned a natural way to combat or fight or cull out that which we medicate for, what happens then? These animals that have had zero exposure because they’ve been vaccinated/medicated and now there isn’t that option, but that illness/bacteria/virus is in the soil where they graze, what now?

And that’s my soap box Smile

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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Davinci on April 3rd 2014, 3:02 am

I am not against vaccination. I just don't vaccinate my birds because adult birds do not leave here and nothing has survived past the age of three without being taken by a predator. For my 9 chickens and 2 roosters, it's hardly worth it.

I do tend to get a bit excited by people who REFUSE to treat their animals with antibiotics even when the animal clearly needs it. I draw my line like this; if the animal is annoyed by its affliction, then I can take some time to try alternative treatments. However if the animal is suffering, then it's time to quit futzing around and TAKE STEPS to either cure or kill the animal. But no living creature should suffer because of my belief system when the power to cure it and stop its pain is at hand. I am a HUMAN and the measure of our humanity is how we treat those who cannot speak for themselves.


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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Pig Whisperer on April 3rd 2014, 12:17 pm

I worked in commercial barns for several years and some of the worst hogs I've ever seen were owned by a small antiobiotic free farmer. Only a very small percentage of my hogs will ever get treatments but I never advertise as antibiotic free.

When deciding to vaccinate, I guess a big part is what's at stake and what are the alternatives to vaccinating. The alternative for me is to allow the virus to take it's course and allow the sows to build up their own immunity. That's not financially feasible for me as my hogs are eating over 200 lbs of grains per day. I was thinking yesterday if I'd vaccinate if I only had 1 or 2 sows; and I believe I would. I wouldn't let my sows go through 1,2 or maybe even 3 farrowings with these symptoms. It makes things a lot harder for me and I believe the sow is worse off as well.

I plan on getting some laying hens in the future, probably around 20 or 30. I don't believe I'd vaccinate them. If they happen to catch something along the way, I think I'd just cull them and start over. It would be a shame to lose the birds but fairly inexpensive to clean house and start fresh.

What are you folks vaccinating your cats with? I had a couple strays stroll in from town and 3 looks like it will turn into a dozen soon enough.

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Re: Vaccinating and antibiotics

Post by Sweetened on April 3rd 2014, 1:57 pm

Vaccines, I think, are for the betterment of a bottom line, not necessarily the betterment of a species.

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