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Featured News The RAAF brushes up on dog health at JCU

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Mon, 2 Nov 2015

The RAAF brushes up on dog health at JCU

LAC Scott Marshall and 'Hammer'.
LAC Scott Marshall and 'Hammer'.

Vets at James Cook University have been teaching the Royal Australian Air Force how to better look after its working dogs.

Members of the No 2 Security Forces Squadron from RAAF Base Townsville have been at JCU’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science for the past four weeks, learning more about their canine partners.

Leading Aircraftman Scott Marshall said the vets had shown the handlers how to provide first aid to their dogs in the field. “None of our dogs have been on deployment yet, so the big dangers around Townsville are dehydration and snakebite,” he said. “We’ve learned how to deal with those effectively in the field along with battle injuries.”

The RAAF’s dogs are either German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois, used for intruder detection and tracking. “They have great noses and they live to work,” said LAC Marshall. “They’re not too big and not too small – they’re the right dog for the right task.”

He and his two-year-old German Shepherd Hammer had been working together for just over a year.

JCU lecturer Dr Linda Hayes said she was trying to help dog handlers gain insight into the anatomy and physiology of their canine companions.

“The vet school is providing RAAF dog handlers with a better appreciation of functional canine anatomy to help them understand the animals they work closely with every day, both ‘inside and out’. This knowledge helps them to reassess and modify their current training techniques and enables them to become more proficient when providing first aid treatment for their dogs out in the field,” she said.    

The course had its final session on Thursday.

Link to pics and short video: http://bit.ly/1M3UEfW

(All pics of Leading Aircraftman Scott Marshall and his dog ‘Hammer’)