Feeding dog-roll

A potential danger of dog-roll

Given how many working dogs there are in New Zealand (estimated to be about 200,000!) it's interesting that it has been only in the last five years or so that large scale studies have been undertaken into the health and diseases of these dogs.

Working dogs are expected to be both sprint and endurance athletes, and are quite unlike any other type of dog in the world. And so, we segue to the subject of the article... The Vetlife group of veterinary practices in Central Otago are in the throes of carrying out a survey of working dog health and disease on a large scale, collecting a wealth of important data. The survey is only in the early stages, but so far some preliminary concerns have come to light.

Several farmers have reported losing dogs to asphyxiation, after they choked on chunks of dog-roll. Some farmers were present when it occurred, but were unable to save the dog. A post-mortem was carried out on an 18-month old huntaway who was found dead in her kennel. Chunks of unthawed dog-roll were found in her stomach, and one chunk was wedged in her oesophagus, cutting off her windpipe. The fact that the dog-roll wasn't thawed properly in all likelihood contributed to the fatal nature of the episode.

The recommendation following this revelation was either to leave slices of dog-roll whole, so they have to be chewed, or to mush it up to a mince-like consistency. Cutting roll into bite sized portions often meant the dogs would swallow them whole. The alternative of course is not to feed roll at all.

We look forward to updates from the Vetlife project ("Teammate") as they get further through their project.