Working Dogs

Our Expertise

At Vetlife, we understand that working dogs are an essential part of a successful farming operation

Your working dog is a partner for the farm and it needs to be treated as an athlete due to its required amount of physical exertion.  We can help you to keep your working dog in peak condition.  These trusted animals need to be looked after properly to ensure that they stay fit and healthy and provide the best possible service to their farm.  We initiated a project called “TeamMate” which was an observational study of South Island farm working dogs, so we have thorough knowledge of these animals and their requirements (more information below).

Our Services

We can offer preventative medicine, best practice management and early arthritis management to prolong working careers.

Vetlife can offer TeamMate physical examinations recording body, muscle and coat condition scores and checking over all elements of your dog’s physiological health, in order to provide you with a comprehensive report.  We can also provide breeding and fertility assistance, preventative injury advice, surgical repair options, information on specialised diets and advice specific to your farm.  Check out this video of two of our vets discussing how to optimise your working dog’s health and fitness on our YouTube channel:


The TeamMate study involved ~700 South Island working dogs and was a collaboration between Vetlife and Massey University.

Over a four-year period, twelve Vetlife teams (each comprising of a veterinarian and a scriber) collected information from ~140 farmers and their dogs.  It was a collaborative project with Massey University Working Dog Centre who now have a PhD student analysing data and submitting papers on the study.  Two studies have been published so far, “TeamMate: A longitudinal study of New Zealand working farm dogs. I. Methods, population characteristics and health on enrolment.  II. Incidence and risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal abnormalities”, was published with Frontiers in Veterinary Science on BMC Veterinary Research here: and TeamMate: A Longitudinal Study of New Zealand Working Farm Dogs. II. Occurrence of Musculoskeletal Abnormalities: