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Injuries and Other Medical Problems among Young Military Working Dogs (MWDs)

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Technical Report

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U.S. Army Public Health Center Aberdeen Proving Ground United States

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Purpose The goal of this project was to 1 quantify medical encounters among a population of Military Working Dogs MWDs, 2 analyze risk factors for injuries and other common medical problems, and 3 to demonstrate the value of a centralized data repository for MWD demographic, deployment, and medical record data. Methods This effort involved a partnership between the U.S. Army Public Health Center APHC Veterinary One Health and Injury Prevention Divisions. Medical encounters among young, active MWDs were categorized and combined with demographic information to analyze risk factors. Results A total of 774 young dogs were included in the analysis. Most dogs were male 74 percent, German Shepherd 39 percent or Belgian Malinois 31 percent breeds, had a dark coat color 83 percent, and were certified in Explosive Detection 60 percent. The average age was 2.6 years or - 0.5 years. Ninety-seven percent of dogs had a medical encounter in their record. When surgical encounters were removed, the most common encounters were for dermatologic, alimentary, dental, soft-tissue injury, and musculoskeletal conditions. Risk factors for these conditions included German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois breed, Explosive Detection or Drug Detection certifications, intact spayneuter status, and NORTHCOM or CENTCOM locations. Conclusions and Recommendations Training and work conditions for the identified at-risk groups of MWDs should be assessed. The multiple sources which currently house MWD data should be merged with medical records in a central data repository for easier data cleaning and analysis. This will allow for future analyses like this to be conducted among larger cohorts and with more variables.

Subject Categories:

  • Biology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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