Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DHA Spearheads Effort for Working Dog Research Collaboration

Image of Picture of three different dogs. Bagzi, Shelton, and Batman (left to right), 647th Security Forces military working dogs, take a break from training at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 7, 2021. All three MWDs work as patrol explosive detection dogs and are trained to detect the presence of improvised explosive devices by smell (Photo by: Air Force Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper, 15th Wing).

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Veterinary Service | Public Health | Research and Innovation

SERIES: This is the First in a series of articles focused on the Defense Health Agency's role in Military Working Dog care.

Military Working Dogs provide a critical force protection capability and are an important force multiplier for the combatant commander.

The Defense Health Agency's Veterinary Service is at the forefront of the effort to develop and foster working dog knowledge sharing and research collaboration within the Department of Defense, federal and state government agencies, and civilian research and academia communities of interest. Research efforts to evaluate and optimize the health, readiness, and performance of working dogs, including MWDs, is vital to saving the lives of service members and civilians.

To disseminate this research and share ideas, more than 220 people attended the third annual Working Dog Research Forum March 31-April 1, representing working dog research, veterinary care, and employment from the DOD, federal and state governments, civilian academia, laboratories, and agencies.

The forum explored a variety of issues associated with working dogs in the military and civilian sector and their experiences, physical performance, protection, and medical management if wounded on the battlefield.

Presentations included:

  • MWD Fitness Assessment and Physical Capabilities
  • No More Underdogs: Releasing the Full Potential of the MWD though Fitness Assessment and Physical Conditioning
  • Tranexamic Acid in Dogs with Traumatic Bleeding or Spontaneous Hemoabdomens
  • Canine Escape Respirator: Project Update
  • Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) Detection Evaluation
  • Developing Odor Capture and Delivery Technology and Canine Training Methodologies to Facilitate Canine Detection of Hazardous and Restricted Targets

Army Lt. Col. Sarah Cooper, chief of animal medicine at DHA's Veterinary Service, organized the forum.

"As a veterinarian, I am familiar with the canine combat casualty care and physical conditioning topics," she said. "I found the olfaction research interesting, and it expanded my understanding of the science of olfaction and how complicated developing items like detection training aids can be."

Among the presenters was Army Maj. Brian Farr, a veterinarian who spoke about a qualitative study of explosive detection canines (EDCs) and the knowledge requirements that underpin explosive detection work.

"The gap in knowledge is where and how we're going to assess these dogs" and "the need for solid understanding" of their performance capabilities and limits, Farr said.

He noted that "a lot of the explosive dog world is tacit knowledge" accumulated by trainers, kennel masters, and handlers through experience and that senior leaders "are processing knowledge and passing it on to junior personnel," but these data have not been captured effectively.

His small-scale study asked questions of 17 military, federal and law enforcement agents, agricultural, and private experts about requirements for an effective EDC and how their performance can degrade. The questions were asked during semi-structured interviews, and then hundreds of pages of transcripts were completed and data coded. The "richness of the data" made up somewhat for the small sample size, Farr said.

In the future, Farr and his team hope to do a "quantitative survey of current handlers to determine broad and organization-specific requirements and frequency and range of degrading factors. We need to pull that information out of the heads of handlers and leaders," he said.

Army Lt. Col. Emilee Venn, chief of the Army Public Health Center's Animal Health division, discussed her research on decontamination of working dogs exposed to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) contaminants or in hazardous material (HAZMAT) situations.

Her study of 28 working dogs looked at two methods of decontamination: The standard method with high volumes of water and a study method using low-water volume and 4% chlorhexidine gluconate scrub brushes. The latter method may be more employable in forward positions where water is at a premium.

Venn's study found that the low-water-volume was effective; however, both methods left residue in the dogs' coats despite significant scrubbing, especially in those dogs with longer fur.

Dr. Andrea Henderson, chief of rehabilitation at DOD Working Dog Veterinary Service , described the extreme physical and mental demands placed on working dogs and presented a system of physical and neurological conditioning that could help dogs work at peak efficiency in odor tracking and patrols.

"Neuromuscular training includes exercises that stimulate proprioception, plyometrics, agility, balance, dynamic stability, and core stability," she said.

Assessments and training must be "field-expedient and use readily available equipment, must be repeatable with personnel without significant training, and must assess parameters desirable for MWD performance: speed, cardiovascular endurance/olfactory endurance, power, and balance," she told the forum.

Cooper said the biggest impediment to MWD research efforts is "the lack of dedicated funding or program of record and coordinated research oversight." There is an initiative under way "to look at how to solve this problem for veterinary-related MWD research efforts," she said. "Events like this forum are critical to knowledge-sharing and enable DHA to better serve the health, readiness, and peak performance of MWDs."

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 12 - December 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Insomnia and motor vehicle accident–related injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Seizures among active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Brief report: Prevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections in U.S. Air Force basic military trainees who donated blood, 2013–2016; Fatigue and related comorbidities, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 6 - June 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence of Campylobacter intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Incidence of nontyphoidal Salmonella intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Incidence of Shigella intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Using records of diagnoses from healthcare encounters and laboratory test results to estimate the incidence of norovirus infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016: limitations to this approach; Incidence of Escherichia coli intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Surveillance snapshot: Annual incidence rates and monthly distribution of cases of gastrointestinal infection, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 7 - July 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Skin and soft tissue infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2016; Age-period-cohort analysis of colorectal cancer, service members aged 20–59 years, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1997–2016; Incidence of gastrointestinal infections among U.S. active component service members stationed in the U.S. compared to U.S civilians, 2012–2014; Brief report: Laboratory characterization of noroviruses identified in specimens from Military Health System beneficiaries during an outbreak in Germany, 2016–2017; Surveillance snapshot: Norovirus outbreaks among military forces, 2008–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 1 - January 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Diabetes mellitus, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2008–2015 introduction of the virus in the Western Hemisphere, 1 January 2016; Rates of Chlamydia trachomatis infections across the deployment cycle, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2008–2015; Brief report: Selected demographic and service characteristics of the U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, 2001, 2009, and 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 10 - October 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella among service members and other beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2010-2016; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2012-June 2017; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza vaccine effectiveness, U.S. European Command, as estimated by the Department of Defense Global, Laboratory-Based Influenza Surveillance Program, 2016-2017 influenza season; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2012-April 2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 11 - November 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Pregnancies and live births, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Contraception among active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Complications and care related to pregnancy, labor, and delivery among active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Incidence and burden of gynecologic disorders, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Department of Defense Birth and Infant Health Registry: select reproductive health outcomes, 2003–2014

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 2 - February 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incident diagnoses of leishmaniasis, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2016; Incidence rates of malignant melanoma in relation to years of military service, overall and in selected military occupational groups, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2015; Medical evacuations, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 5 - May 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Viral hepatitis A, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Viral hepatitis B, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Viral hepatitis C, U.S. military service members and beneficiaries, 2008–2016; Brief report: Tinea pedis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2016; and Surveillance snapshot: Respiratory infections resulting in hospitalization, U.S. Air Force recruits, October 2010–February 2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 3 - March 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Diagnoses of traumatic brain injury not clearly associated with deployment, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2016; Update: Heat illness, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 9 - September 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Review of the U.S. military's human immunodeficiency virus program: a legacy of progress and a future of promise; Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2012–June 2017; Sexually transmitted infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Brief report: Use of ICD-10 code A51.31 (condyloma latum) for identifying cases of secondary syphilis

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 8 - August 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Multiple sclerosis among service members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces and among other beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2007–2016; Challenges with diagnosing and investigating suspected active tuberculosis disease in military trainees; Brief report: Mid-season influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates for the 2016–2017 influenza season

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 4 - April 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Hospitalizations, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Ambulatory visits, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, reserve component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, recruit trainees, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Study Finds Strong Immune Response to HPV Vaccine Among Female Service Members

Report
5/11/2016

A new study of female service members that examined their immune response to a vaccine to combat the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer showed development of antibodies in 80 to 99 percent of recipients against each of the four strains of the disease.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Public Health | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 6 - June 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Identification of specific activities associated with fall-related injuries, active component, U.S. Army, 2011; Incidence and recent trends in functional gastrointestinal disorders, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 7 - July 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Increasing severity of traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of subsequent headache or migraine: a retrospective cohort study of U.S. active duty service members, 2006–2015; Use of complementary health approaches at military treatment facilities, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2015; Incident diagnoses of cancers in the active component and cancer-related deaths in the active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 21
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 09, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.