• 1.

    Otto CM, Franz MA, Kellogg B, et al. Field treatment of search dogs: lessons learned from the World Trade Center disaster. J Vet Emerg Crit Care 2002; 12:3342.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Otto CM, Downend AB, Serpell JA, et al. Medical and behavioral surveillance of dogs deployed to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon from October 2001 to June 2002. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 225:861867.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Slensky KA, Drobatz KJ, Downend AB, et al. Deployment morbidity among search-and-rescue dogs used after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 225:868873.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Fox PR, Puschner B, Ebel JG. Assessment of acute injuries, exposure to environmental toxins, and five-year health surveillance of New York Police Department working dogs following the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center terrorist attack. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2008; 233:4859.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Otto CM, Downend AB, Moore GE, et al. Medical surveillance of search dogs deployed to the World Trade Center and Pentagon: 2001–2006. J Environ Health 2010; 73:1222.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Duhaime RA, Norden D, Corso B, et al. Injuries and illnesses in working dogs used during the disaster response after the bombing in Oklahoma City. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 212:12021207.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    US Geological Survey website. Magnitude 7.0—Haiti region. Available at: earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2010rja6.php. Accessed May 29, 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    DisasterDog.org website. About FEMA National US&R Response System. Available at: www.disasterdog.org/. Accessed May 29, 2011.

  • 9.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Urban search and rescue (US&R). Available at: www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/. Accessed May 28, 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency website. US&R Task Force locations. Available at: www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/locations.shtm. Accessed May 28, 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Schneider M. Guidelines for deployment of rescue dogs in hot climate zones. Dubai, Saudia Arabia: Commission for Science and Research, International Rescue Dog Organization, 2009.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Urban Search and Rescue Veterinary Group. Canine decontamination: guidelines for emergency, gross, and technical decontamination of the urban search and rescue canine. Available at: www.usarveterinarygroup.org/wmdlecture.htm. Accessed Mar 1, 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Soric S, Belanger MP, Wittnich C. A method for decontamination of animals involved in floodwater disasters. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2008; 232:364370.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Advertisement

Injuries and illnesses among urban search-and-rescue dogs deployed to Haiti following the January 12, 2010, earthquake

View More View Less
  • 1 Massachusetts Task Force 1 National Urban Search and Rescue Response Team, 43 Airport Rd, Beverly, MA 01915.

Abstract

Objective—To establish types and rates of injuries and illnesses among urban search-and-rescue (USAR) dogs deployed to Haiti following the January 12, 2010, earthquake.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Animals—23 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) USAR dogs deployed to Haiti.

Procedures—An online survey was distributed to the handlers of all FEMA USAR dogs deployed to Haiti in response to the January 12, 2010, earthquake.

Results—Of 33 handlers with 37 dogs that deployed, 19 (58%) handlers completed the survey, providing information on 23 (62%) dogs. Injuries and illnesses were reported in 10 of the 23 (43%) dogs, 8 of which had multiple issues. Dogs worked a total of 250 days and 1,785 hours. Dehydration and wounding were the most common disorders, with incidences of 3.9 and 3.4 events/1,000 h worked, respectively. Other disorders included ocular discharge and appetite decrease (incidence of each, 1.1 events/1,000 h worked) and weight loss, urination changes, skin infection, ear infection, oral abscess, and nonspecific illness (incidence of each, 0.56 events/1,000 h worked). Overall, there were 12.6 events/1,000 h worked. All health issues were minor and resolved during the deployment or within 2 weeks after demobilization.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that many of the USAR dogs deployed to Haiti developed acute injuries and illnesses. However, despite the high heat index, long hours worked, and dusty conditions, most injuries and illnesses were minor and all had resolved within 14 days. When logistic supplies for USAR teams are limited, minimal basic medical needs to treat common injuries should be a priority.

Abstract

Objective—To establish types and rates of injuries and illnesses among urban search-and-rescue (USAR) dogs deployed to Haiti following the January 12, 2010, earthquake.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Animals—23 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) USAR dogs deployed to Haiti.

Procedures—An online survey was distributed to the handlers of all FEMA USAR dogs deployed to Haiti in response to the January 12, 2010, earthquake.

Results—Of 33 handlers with 37 dogs that deployed, 19 (58%) handlers completed the survey, providing information on 23 (62%) dogs. Injuries and illnesses were reported in 10 of the 23 (43%) dogs, 8 of which had multiple issues. Dogs worked a total of 250 days and 1,785 hours. Dehydration and wounding were the most common disorders, with incidences of 3.9 and 3.4 events/1,000 h worked, respectively. Other disorders included ocular discharge and appetite decrease (incidence of each, 1.1 events/1,000 h worked) and weight loss, urination changes, skin infection, ear infection, oral abscess, and nonspecific illness (incidence of each, 0.56 events/1,000 h worked). Overall, there were 12.6 events/1,000 h worked. All health issues were minor and resolved during the deployment or within 2 weeks after demobilization.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that many of the USAR dogs deployed to Haiti developed acute injuries and illnesses. However, despite the high heat index, long hours worked, and dusty conditions, most injuries and illnesses were minor and all had resolved within 14 days. When logistic supplies for USAR teams are limited, minimal basic medical needs to treat common injuries should be a priority.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Gordon's present address is Veterinary Surgical Care Incorporated, 4 Rose Ln, Atkinson, NH 03811.

Supported by the Massachusetts Task Force 1 National Urban Search and Rescue Response Team.

The author thanks Dr. Cynthia Otto for assistance with survey design and implementation and Drs. Jen Brown and Mark Honaker for their help in acquiring medical records.

Address correspondence to Dr. Gordon (questions@usarveterinarygroup.org).