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.

  • Ticks : Ticks live in areas of long grass and dense shrubs. They wait for animals to come along, and then grab onto their fur. Once on the animal, they find areas of thin skin and attach with cement-like saliva...
  • Toe Nail Injuries: A break in the toe nail or dewclaw causes a cracked nail with an exposed nail bed. This can be extremely painful. If left untreated, nail infections can spread up to the joint of the toe and can lead to...
  • Heat Stroke: Heat stroke can be an extremely deadly emergency. We see it mainly in summer but it can occur at any time. During hot summer days, start work early if you can. Try to avoid the main hottest parts...
  • Constipation Issues: Constipation is an obstruction of the colon with difficulty to pass faeces or the inability to defaecate at all. Clinical signs are: - Straining to defaecate - Defaecating small amounts of dry hard...
  • Fleas : When a flea bites, its saliva causes the dog to itch. The adult fleas you see on your dog only represent 5% of the whole flea population. Flea problems can appear to come and go. This is because the...