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amount of data available describing the types and incidence of medical issues among S&R dogs deployed to a postfire environment by documenting the injuries and illnesses incurred by S&R dogs deployed to the scene of the Camp Fire wildfire and to compare

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objectives

To determine characteristics of working dogs used during the disaster response after the bombing in Oklahoma City and risk factors for injuries and illnesses of those dogs, and to document recommendations for future disaster responses.

Design

Survey.

Study Population

Information for 74 working dogs used at the bombing site.

Procedures

Dog handlers were identified and asked to complete a questionnaire. Questions were asked about the training and use of each dog, use of paw protection, injuries and illnesses incurred, possible effects after completion of duty at Oklahoma City, and handler's experience.

Results

Data were obtained for all 74 dogs used at the site. Handlers of 69 of 74 (93%) dogs responded. The dogs had been extensively trained and were used 491 dog-days at the site, with 46 dogs used in search, 14 in patrol, 12 in explosive-detection duty, and 2 in search/patrol. Fifteen (22%) dogs became ill. Nineteen (28%) dogs incurred 20 injuries. Footpad injuries constituted 18 of the injuries. Only 16 of 69 (23%) dogs were provided with paw protection. Dogs were more likely to be injured when they were used in a search capacity, were used during the first 2 days after the bombing, were German Shepherd Dogs, or were older.

Clinical Implications

Although working in a highrisk environment, injuries to dogs were few, and most were minor. Specific recommendations could facilitate use of dogs in disaster situations and improve safety for those dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212: 1202–1207)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

There is little published information on the effects of most weapons of mass destruction in animals, 3 although some information has been published on possible dangers for search-and-rescue dogs working in postdisaster environments. 4–8 Nevertheless

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
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of blood microagglutination titer). Prophylactic deworming was recommended because of the contaminated environments where the dogs worked in Haiti and the stressful working conditions. Recommended testing 30 to 40 days after demobilization included

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

coughing and eye irritation as a result of exposure to fiberglass. Large-scale disasters can result in the dispersal of hundreds of toxic chemicals and hazardous materials into the environment, 2 with the profile of contaminants released varying with the

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

, Flavobacterium columnare [columnaris disease], Pseudomonas spp [ulcer disease], and Aeromonas spp [furunculosis or septicemia]) are ubiquitous in aquatic environments. 10 Proper disinfection of housing tank water (eg, with UV or ozone treatment) can reduce

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
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for FEMA US&R. The intent was to provide veterinary care for the search dogs through an individual trained to operate safely and effectively in a disaster environment who had experience working with search dogs and could provide continuity of care

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

, property, evidence, and the environment, including public health, clinical care, and other skilled support personnel. 13 This indicates a primary role for veterinarians. Responsibilities for, among other things, surveillance, mitigation, response and

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

community, and the value of quarantine may supersede that of decontamination. 10 Technical decontamination —Responders who commonly work in contaminated environments, such as hazardous materials technicians, will not enter into such areas until a technical

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Environmental hazards were an important concern for relief workers following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, on the WTC. Building incineration and collapse created a hazardous environment that exposed emergency responders and community

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association