Military Working Dogs and Canine Ehrlichiosis (Tropical Canine Pancytopenia) in the Vietnam War
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
The United States employed large numbers of military working dogs as sentries, scouts, trackers, and mine detectors in Vietnam. In mid-1968 an epizootic occurred which threatened the working dog program and led to 250 canine deaths. Military veterinarians launched an extensive effort to control this disease and to determine its cause. This study, using primary and secondary sources, describes the epizootic, the identification and control of the disease, and its implications for the future use of military working dogs. Canine ehrlichiosis, a highly fatal tickborne rickettsiosis caused by Ehrlichia canis, was identified as the cause of the epizootic. Clinical and experimental experience proved that canine ehrlichiosis can be successfully treated with tetracycline this treatment and serologic testing to detect infected animals brought the epizootic under control, although ehrlichiosis still remains a problem among military working dogs. This study concluded that the future control of canine ehrlichiosis and related diseases requires serologic screening of prospective and active duty military dogs, rigorous tick control, evaluation of the disease threat in areas where military dogs are employed, disease education of personnel who deal with military dogs, and additional veterinary research.
- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics