Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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Working Dogs

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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.

  • When to bring your working dog in to see us…in less than 24 hrs please…: Over this busy time of year, it can be easy to overlook the working dog with the limp, or the dog that hadn’t eaten last night’s dinner. What can save you a lot of trouble, both in cost and lack of...
  • Keeping your working dog working: Working dogs are the hardest working and cheapest labour unit on your farm. Here are a few points to consider to ensure they are in optimal health and are able to give you their best.
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  • ARTHRITIS- The biggest issue limiting working dogs performance: This grading system is helpful to use as guide to get the most out of your working dog team. The following will be a brief description of the four grades along with their corresponding treatment optio...
  • Stitch Up – What can you do to help?: Unlike a surgical incision with smooth edges, a laceration is often jagged and irregular and as a result, there can be variable degrees of damage to the underlying tissue and structures depending on the...