Massey University undertakes and leads research with industry partners across New Zealand and internationally into the health, nutrition, behaviour and management of companion cats and dogs.

We also have world-leading expertise in the health, management, welfare and nutrition of working dogs. There are many aspects of society where dogs have a vital role in assisting, safeguarding, and protecting our community. Massey University is filling a gap in available research on these animals.

Research expertise

Anaesthesia and critical care

Our anaesthesia specialists have a diverse range of research interests that include the evaluation of new anaesthetic drugs, improving pain relief, developing novel methods of monitoring patients and optimising fluid therapy, and understanding the causes of anaesthetic complications such as gastroesophageal reflux. Our critical care specialists are studying infectious disease control, and the molecular basis for blood vessel integrity in health, and its loss in disease.


Bioactive food and feed ingredients

We develop and evaluate functional foods, and ingredients for the animal and human food industries. We also examine effects of nutrition on characteristics of animal-derived human foods, including taste, quality, yields, shelf life, health and sensory attributes.


Companion animal infectious diseases

We have several projects investigating infectious diseases of dogs and cats, including viral causes of kennel cough, feline immunodeficiency virus, papilloma virus infection as a cause of cancer, and all manner of intestinal infectious agents. We have expertise in parasitology, bacterial and viral isolation, as well as cutting edge molecular genetic techniques.


Companion animal medicine

We have a broad range of research interests, with a particular focus in gastroenterology, infectious diseases, and diseases of the pancreas and liver. We have extensive experience developing novel diagnostic tests, and are interested in the complexities of optimal diagnostic testing and reasoning. The role of diet and microbiome in health and disease is an active area of research.


Companion animal nutrition

We are studying both fundamental nutrition for healthy pets, and the effects of nutrition in disease. We are currently researching aspects of pet obesity, nutritional strategies to improve recovery from spinal injury, supplements to improve osteoarthritis, the effect of dietary moisture, and the complex interactions between the diet and gut microflora. In addition, we have expertise in nutritional evaluation of commercial and home prepared diets, and work with companies to develop and optimise pet foods to improve the health and wellbeing of companion animals.


Companion animal surgery

Besides their technical expertise in the theatre, our surgical specialists are researching causes, treatments, and rehabilitation of surgical diseases. We are currently conducting studies into the cause and management of airway disease in brachycephalic dogs, developing bespoke titanium implants for stabilisation of lumbosacral joints, optimal surgical repair of working dog injuries, and the efficacy of rehabilitation methods following injury.


Working dog health, nutrition and management

Massey scientists are looking at testing, prevention and treatment for diseases in working dogs. Specific projects include studies to describe activity levels and optimal fitness of police dogs, the effect of diet on athletic performance, developing bespoke titanium implants for stabilisation of lumbosacral joints, and the efficacy of nutritional supplements in farm dogs with joint disease.


Research projects

Research centres

    Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre

    The Centre focuses on animal welfare in a diverse range of human-animal interactions. This includes the use of animals in research, teaching and testing, on farms, in the home, for sport, recreation and entertainment, in service roles, in zoos and the wild, and in other arenas.

    Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre

    Monogastric Research Centre

    The Centre is an Australasian Centre of Excellence on monogastric species. Research focuses on feed evaluation, nutrition, husbandry and welfare. It provides a focal point for the New Zealand monogastric industries and has extensive international linkages.

    Contact Patrick Morel

    Working Dog Centre

    We work to improve the health and working life of working and service dogs through cutting-edge scientific investigations.

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      Facilities within FoodPILOT include equipment for both animal and human food production. Capability includes extrusion, ice-cream-making, sausage stuffing,vacuum packing, bowl chopping, spray drying, evaporation, freeze drying, canning and pasteurising. FoodPILOT hosts the largest collection of pilot-scale food processing equipment in the southern hemisphere.


      Veterinary Teaching Hospital

      Massey’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital's state-of-the-art equipment includes canine hydrotherapy, MRI scanners, tomography, dynamic and video endoscopy, ultrasound and radiology equipment and arthroscopy as well as surgical expertise on many animal types.

      Veterinary Teaching Hospital


        Animal Genetic Services

        Massey University’s Equine Parentage and Animal Genetics Services Centre offers the most comprehensive range of DNA-based genetic testing for animals in New Zealand.

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        Companion Animal Clinic

        Top-quality veterinary care for all types of small pets. Open to the public, we are the first choice veterinary clinic for local pets. You can also ask your veterinarian for a referral to us for difficult cases. For emergencies contact the Pet Emergency Centre.

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        Pet Emergency Centre

        We are the only 24-hour pet emergency centre in the central North Island. Our team is ready to provide excellent emergency and critical care treatment to your pet in our purpose-built, fully equipped facility.

        Call 0800 PET EMERGENCY (0800 738 363)

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        Animal expertise

        Find out about research, facilities, research degrees, services and resources to do with animal specialities at Massey University.