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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
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The potential for injuries and illnesses is an important concern when personnel are deployed from the United States to respond to disasters in foreign countries, particularly because of the unique challenges that exist with respect to

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
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Documentation of illness and injury incurred by S&R and search-and-rescue dogs during and after deployment 1–9 provides data on medical issues and insight as to the nature of the risks involved for such dogs during operations. The information can

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
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. In addition, dogs can be exposed to a range of climatic conditions, often without any opportunity for an acclimatization period. Documentation of the illnesses and injuries experienced by US&R and other search dogs 1–7 serves several purposes. Data

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

NYPD working dogs that assisted in disaster relief efforts at the WTC disaster site following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack; establish types and rates of related acute injuries and illnesses; identify environmental toxin exposures; and

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

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.

Animals—96 dogs.

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 injuries.

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 2004;225:868–873)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Weapons of mass destruction may be defined as chemical, biological, radiologic, nuclear, explosive, or incendiary devices intended to cause widespread injury or death. 1 Injuries and illnesses resulting from weapons of mass destruction may be

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

example, a study 1 of injuries and illnesses sustained by working dogs at the Oklahoma City bombing site found that > 20% of the dogs fell ill, with clinical signs ranging from respiratory tract irritation as a result of exposure to cement lime to

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

) . Common workplace health and safety hazards include confined spaces, extreme heat and cold, handling heavy equipment, musculoskeletal and respiratory hazards, electrocution, and heat stress and injury. Working in disaster zones is physically and

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

equipment, such as coveralls, steeltoed boots, protective gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, and hearing protection. This level of PPE is appropriate if there is minimal risk of injury following skin contact with liquids or vapors containing the agent or

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association