This paper explores the work of Military Working Dogs and the combat casualty care that should be put in place to support their needs.
The Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) is the premier U.S. agency funding combat casualty care research. Studies funded by the MRMC Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP) have led to many advances in care that save lives on the battlefield. Advances from CCCRP research during OEF/OIF have contributed to the highest survival rate of any previous conflict.1 Military working dogs (MWDs) also save lives; however, despite their high risk of trauma and death, no CCCRP funding supports research on combat casualty care for MWDs. Thus, funding dedicated to advancing care for wounded MWDs is needed. Because of the lack of research support to date, even a modest investment to translate key advances in battlefield care for humans to MWDs could yield substantial gains. MWDs on the battlefield are a force multiplier. They use their exceptional sense of smell to locate improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Although the technology for IED detection is improving, MWDs remain a critically important asset. In 2010, a Pentagon task force concluded that “The best bomb detector is a dog.”2 They reported that in Afghanistan and Iraq, the most sophisticated detectors available located only 50% of IEDs; soldiers assisted by bomb-sniffing dogs found 89% of IEDs. Thus, MWDs play an important role in keeping service members safe on the battlefield.
Orman, J. A., Parker, J. S., Stockinger, Z. T. and Nemelka, K. W., 2018. The Need for a Combat Casualty Care Research Program and Trauma Registry for Military Working Dogs. Military Medicine, 183(11-12), pp. 258-260.