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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012 Feb 15;240(4):396-403. doi: 10.2460/javma.240.4.396.

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

Author information

1
Massachusetts Task Force 1 National Urban Search and Rescue Response Team, 43 Airport Rd, Beverly, MA 01915, USA. questions@usarveterinarygroup.org

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.

PMID:
22309011
DOI:
10.2460/javma.240.4.396
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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