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  • Author or Editor: John R. Herbold x
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Objective—To calculate the monthly incidence of gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) in a population of military working dogs during a 5-year period and determine whether there was an association with synoptic climatologic indices.

Sample Population—Medical records of all military working dogs housed at Lackland Air Force Base,Tex, from Jan 1, 1993 to Dec 31, 1997.

Procedure—Confirmed cases of GDV were identified from evaluation of medical records and used to calculate incidence of GDV. Factor analysis of local climatologic data was used to classify each day into 1 of 8 meteorologically homogeneous types of days for this location. Occurrence of GDV was compared with frequency of occurrence of synoptic climatologic days.

Results—48 cases of GDV were identified from January 1993 through December 1997. Mean monthly incidence was 2.5 cases/1,000 dogs at risk (range, 0 to 18.5 cases/1,000 dogs; median, 2.5 cases/1,000 dogs). A seasonal increase in incidence of GDV was detected, because half of the episodes were during November, December, and January. An association with a specific synoptic climatologic day was not detected.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Seasonal fluctuations in incidence of GDV may be associated with external factors that precipitate physiologic changes resulting in GDV. Although a specific cause-effect relationship was not documented, clinicians must be alert for the potential of seasonal variation in incidence of GDV and accordingly heighten their index of suspicion for the condition, particularly in populations of dogs that are predisposed to development of GDV. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:47–52)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine causes for discharge of military working dogs (MWDs) from service.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—268 MWDs.

Procedures—Records of all MWDs approved for discharge from December 2000 through November 2004 were evaluated for cause of discharge.

Results—23 dogs had been obtained through the Department of Defense breeding program but had failed to meet prepurchase or certification standards. The remaining 245 (120 German Shepherd Dogs, 100 Belgian Malinois, and 25 dogs of other breeds) had been purchased as adults or obtained through the breeding program and had passed prepurchase and certification standards. Eighty-five of the 245 (34.7%) adult dogs were 1 to < 5 years old at discharge, and 160 (65.3%) were ≥ 5 years old at discharge. The proportion of adult dogs < 5 years old at discharge that were German Shepherd Dogs (69.4%) was significantly greater than the proportion of adult dogs ≥ 5 years old at discharge that were German Shepherd Dogs (38.1%). Within the subgroup of dogs ≥ 5 years old at discharge, median age at discharge for the German Shepherd Dogs (8.59 years) was significantly less than median age at discharge for the Belgian Malinois (10.61 years). For adult dogs < 5 years old at discharge, the most common cause for discharge was behavioral problems (82.3%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that longevity of service for MWDs may be influenced by breed differences and that selection criteria should be evaluated to reduce behavior-related discharge from service.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association