In a combat environment, troop safety and installation security are paramount. Documentation of the frequent use of explosive devices by insurgents in Southwest Asia has increased the need for augmentation of defensive capabilities. Military working dogs (MWDs) are trained and certified to perform missions supporting security and detection of explosives. Challenges arise in theater because the number of certified dogs available can be limited and the standards of housing and care that are available in the continental United States are not usually available in a combat theater. Planning, preparation, and training of MWD handlers, animal care specialists, and Veterinary Corps officers will maximize mission performance and MWD health. Some of the challenges and needs associated with management and care of the MWDs in the Kuwait theater of operation are discussed. Suggested improvements to the current deployment readiness paradigm are offered from the perspective of a staff veterinarian who was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.
|Pfizer Global Research and Development, New London, CT 06320, USA.
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