Objectives—To determine characteristics, variables
associated with deployment morbidity, and injuries
and illnesses of search-and-rescue dogs associated
with the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Design—Historical cohort study.
Procedure—Data collected included previous medical
or surgical history, physical attributes of dogs,
type and number of years of training, site of deployment,
shift and hours worked, and number of days
deployed. Combined morbidity was defined as 1 or
more abnormalities of body systems, including traumatic
Results—Handlers of 96 of the 212 dogs responded to
the surveys. Fifty-nine dogs were deployed by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 10 by police
forces, and 27 as members of other search-and-rescue
teams. Sixty-five dogs (incidence rate, 17 events/1,000
dog search hours) had combined morbidity during deployment.
System-specific morbidity rates included gastrointestinal
tract signs (5 events/1,000 dog search hours),
cuts and abrasions mostly on the feet (5 events/1,000
dog search hours), fatigue (6 events/1,000 dog search
hours), change in appetite (6 events/1,000 dogs search
hours), dehydration (5 events/1,000 dog search hours),
respiratory tract problems (2 events/1,000 dog search
hours), heat exhaustion (2 events/1,000 dog search
hours), and orthopedic or back problems (2 events/1,000
dog search hours). Dogs deployed to the World Trade
Center were 6.6 times more likely to have combined
morbidity, compared with dogs at the Pentagon.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Injury and illnesses
occurred in most dogs and affected several
organ systems, but all were minor. (J Am Vet Med Assoc
Objective—To evaluate early medical and behavioral
effects of deployment to the World Trade Center,
Fresh Kills Landfill, or the Pentagon on responding
search-and-rescue (SAR) dogs.
Design—Prospective double cohort study.
Animals—The first cohort included SAR dogs responding
to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
(deployed), and the second cohort included SAR dogs
trained in a similar manner but not deployed (controls).
Enrollment occurred from October 2001 to June 2002.
Procedure—Dogs were examined by their local veterinarians;
thoracic radiographs and blood samples
were shipped to the University of Pennsylvania for
analysis. Handlers completed medical and training
histories and a canine behavioral survey.
Results—Deployed dogs were older and had more
search experience than control dogs. Serum concentrations
of globulin and bilirubin and activity of alkaline
phosphatase were significantly higher in deployed
dogs, independent of age and training. Despite significant
differences in several blood parameters, values
for both groups were within reference ranges. No pulmonary
abnormalities were detected on radiographs,
and no significant differences in behavior or medical
history were detected between groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Within the first
year following the September 11 attacks, there was no
evidence that responding dogs developed adverse
effects related to their work. Mild but significantly higher
serum concentrations of globulin and bilirubin and
activity of alkaline phosphatase in deployed dogs suggested
higher antigen or toxin exposure. These dogs
will be monitored for delayed effects for at least 3
years. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:861–867)