A Niche Like No Other: Military Pooches May Soon Find Chemical Weapons Shelters

He is leg-sible that the Pentagon may soon set a strawberry problem for military working dogs by creating portable shelters to protect them from weapons of mass destruction.

Protective kennels for military dogs to guard against chemical and biological threats may soon be in the works, according to a research solicitation proposal from the Department of Defense’s Small Business Innovation Research Program.

“For certain critical missions requiring a high degree of maneuverability and general readiness, it is highly desirable to have [military working dog] shelters with much lower logistical requirements and convenience elements,” the research solicitation reads.

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These portable and collapsible dog shelters are said to be equipped with air filtration systems and temperature controls to keep animals safe. They would also be light enough to be carried by a single service member.

Military working dogs are often the first to enter situations where chemical and biological threats may be present, but they have little personal protective equipment compared to their handlers. Creating this easily transportable enclosure would be a major step in helping to protect a soldier’s best friend and essential military asset.

According to a Pentagon-funded report from May at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Microbial pathogens, chemical toxins, and chemical warfare agents all pose a significant risk of harm to both the handler and the dog,” the report states. He also pointed out that while military working dogs are often not the intended victim of attack and are considered less susceptible to diseases produced by these agents, they deserve better protection from exposure to contaminated environments. .

Another 2021 study on veterinary care for military working dogs found that heat-related injuries are one of the most serious conditions that can affect military working dogs, making good blood circulation air essential in new kennels.

Dogs have a long history of involvement in warfare; the US Army officially began training dogs to serve in its ranks during World War II. The health and safety of these creatures has long been an important part of the military, especially for the Army Veterinary Corps, the branch responsible for the welfare of military animals.

“As officers in the veterinary corps, we need to maintain our clinical skills in order to provide care for military working dogs,” said Capt. Aaron Judson, veterinarian at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk Veterinary Clinic in Fort Polk. Louisiana. statement.

“We have a unique job; we provide a unique service to the Ministry of Defense because the military is the only branch with a veterinary corps,” he continued.

There are approximately 2,500 active military working dogs in the field today, according to the University of Georgia report.

The DoD began accepting research and development proposals for these new protective kennels on May 18. Small businesses have until June 15 to submit a forward-looking project plan.

— Jonathan Lehrfeld is a member of Military.com. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media.

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