Conditions and Rehabilitation of the Working Dog

Kimberly E. Henneman, Chris Zink

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The last decade has shown increasing veterinary medical awareness of the identifica tion and treatment of orthopedic and particularly soft tissue injuries, especially in the canine athlete. However, most veterinary clinical exposure has been limited to canine athletes participating in competitive endeavors. Increasing global security demands, more awareness and reliance on the incredible abilities of the canine nose, and greater openness towards the role that canine companions play in supporting human physical and mental health is creating ever-growing and diverse noncompetition uses and jobs for dogs. The use of the term "working dog" can have a variety of meanings, from a specific conformation show category of breeds to dogs trained specifically to assist humans with a variety of tasks. These tasks involve all kinds of aspects from the more traditional protection (military and non-military) and explosives/drug detection to less traditional uses such as health-care support and detection of pests, archeological artifacts, and human diseases. In this chapter, we use the term "working dog" as it relates to dogs that are chosen and trained to work with humans to accomplish very specific tasks. Activities where overlap between competitive sports and noncompetitive jobs (such as mushing, herding, or protection sports) will be touched on briefly; for more in-depth information on the competitive aspect of the canine athlete, the reader is referred to resources listed in Chapter 1. There is often overlap in the breeds used, training techniques, and physical demands between competitive performance and working dogs. However, there are many unique aspects to the maintenance of health and performance often not recognized by veteri nary caregivers (primary medical, surgical, rehabilitation alike), handlers, or trainers. This chapter discusses the unique aspects of working dogs from the perspective of sports medicine injury and rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCanine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781119380627
ISBN (Print)9781119380382
StatePublished - Mar 28 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Detection
  • Military
  • Police
  • Search and rescue
  • Working dog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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