Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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Working Dogs

Services > Working Dogs

At Vet Services we are lucky to have a large proportion of our canine patients being farm working dogs. Huntaways and heading dogs tend to be well mannered (though often reluctant to walk on lino flooring...) and physically fit; and the dogs (and their owners) are always keen to return to full employment. The nature of the job, plus a few breed traits, do mean we see a number of common - and often preventable - health issues. A recent survey (of over 2500 working dog vet visits) by the Massey-based Centre for Service and Working Dog Health confirmed the trends that we see here.

The most common problem is traumatic injury. Dog fights, kicks or trampling by cattle, vehicle injuries, or getting caught in fences or gates are the leading causes. Prevention will never be 100% attainable but, as always, looking at underlying causes can help.

Other health issues that affect all dogs also need to be kept in mind, for example heat stress (especially young dogs working on a very hot day), reproductive issues (whelping, infected uterus, mastitis), lumps and cancers, poisonings (ratbait, possum bait, slug bait, sheep dip, calf pellets).

Basic care like clean, fresh water in the kennels, and good quality food should go without saying if you expect the best from your workers.

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Related Articles

These articles are compiled by our vets and are intended to complement our Veterinary services by giving you access to research articles and animal health information. They are only guides - we strongly recommend you consult your vet for a full diagnosis.

  • Arthritis, not just an old dog problem: Arthritis will be in almost all our working dogs by the age of 5. The severity depends on breeding and size of the breed, previous injuries, nutrition and how well they have been looked after.
  • Rat Bait: Rat bait (rodenticide) poisoning is the most common poisoning we see in the clinic. It generally affects dogs as they are more readily ruled by their stomachs! Rat baits work by preventing the productio...
  • Medical Management of Arthritis: To get the most out of your team, ensure you take measures to keep them comfortable.
  • Feeding Athletes:
  • Be Aware of Algal Blooms this Summer : At this time of year care needs to be taken with dogs around streams, rivers and lakes due to the possibility of algal blooms.