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. 23 No. 5 - May 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: Post-refractive surgery complications and eye disease, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014; Update: Urinary stones, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011–2015; Surveillance snapshot: Zika virus infection among Military Health System beneficiaries following introduction of the virus into the Western Hemisphere, 20 May 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Department of Defense Global, Laboratory-Based Influenza Surveillance Program, 2014–2015 season.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 11 - November 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: Excessive vomiting in pregnancy, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014; Importance of external cause coding for injury surveillance: lessons from assessment of overexertion injuries among U.S. Army soldiers in 2014; Acetaminophen overdoses, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2006–2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 12 - December 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: Incident diagnoses of non-melanoma skin cancer, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014; Zika virus infections in Military Health System beneficiaries since the introduction of the virus in the Western Hemisphere, 1 January 2016 through 30 November 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Findings from the Department of Defense Global, Laboratory-based, Influenza Surveillance Program, 2015–2016 influenza season.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 8 - August 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: Incidence of abdominal hernias in service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014; Incidence of hiatal hernia in service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 9 - September 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: 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 2011–June 2016; Update: Diagnoses of overweight and obesity, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011–2015; Update: Osteoarthritis and spondylosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 1 - January 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: Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Durations of service until first and recurrent episodes of clinically significant back pain, active component military members: changes among new accessions to service since calendar year 2000; Surveillance snapshot: Responses to questions about back pain in post-deployment health assessment questionnaires, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005-2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 10 - October 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: Obstructive sleep apnea and associated attrition, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, January 2004–May 2016; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2011–June 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2011–April 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 4 - April 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: Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Hospitalizations among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Ambulatory visits among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, reserve component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, recruit trainees, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 2 - February 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: Editorial: What's old is new again: syphilis in the U.S. Army; Use of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine and the prevalence of antibodies to vaccine-targeted strains among female service members before and after vaccination; Brief report: Human papillomavirus (HPV) 6, 11, 16, and 18 seroprevalence among males and females entering military service during 2011-2012; Sexually transmitted infections in U.S. Air Force recruits in basic military training; Incident and recurrent Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010-2014; Incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections and screening compliance, U.S. Army active duty females under 25 years of age, 2011-2014; Brief report: Associations between antecedent bacterial vaginosis and incident chlamydia and gonorrhea diagnoses, U.S. Army females, 2006-2012.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 3 - March 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: The DoD Global, Laboratory-based, Influenza Surveillance Program: summary for the 2013-2014 influenza season; Correlation between antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli infections in hospitalized patients and rates of inpatient prescriptions for selected antimicrobial agents, Department of Defense hospitals, 2010-2014; Brief report: The epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 2 infections in a large cohort of HIV-infected patients, 2006-2014; Update: Heat injuries, active component, U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 2015; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 2011-2015; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 2000-2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Continuing Education for Department of Defense Health Professionals

Report
11/24/2015

Continuing Education for Department of Defense Health Professionals Report

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation

Ethical Guidelines and Practices for US Military Medical Professionals

Report
3/3/2015

Defense Health Board (DHB) report summarizing the findings and recommendations from the DHB's independent review on Ethical Guidelines and Practices for U.S. Military Medical Professionals

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Health Care Professionals)

Form Follows Function Pursuing a World Class System for Health

Report
2/1/2015

Form Follows Function: Pursuing a World-Class System for Health

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 11 - November 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Rates of acute respiratory illnesses of infectious and allergic etiologies after permanent changes of duty assignments, active component, U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, January 2005–September 2015; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of notifiable medical conditions, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2008–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 10 - October 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Chikungunya infection in DoD healthcare beneficiaries following the 2013 introduction of the virus into the Western Hemisphere, 1 January 2014 to 28 February 2015; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2010-June 2015; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2010-April 2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 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.