Service dogs have been helping our community for years, through guidance, physical assistance, detection, protection and companionship. Courageous law enforcement dogs also play an invaluable role for all of us, but especially in the lives of individuals who depend on them.
One Medicine Foundation (formerly New York Veterinary Foundation) is dedicated to supporting service and law enforcement dogs through specialized medical care and training programs:
Many service and law enforcement dogs benefit from clinical trials supported by One Medicine Foundation, as well as through the regular health care we provide. And as patients, these dogs are giving us important information about common health conditions for these working dogs that can be shared with the service animal community.
For example, several studies on juvenile canine orthopedic diseases in service dogs have been funded by One Medicine Foundation and carried out at Long Island Veterinary Specialists (LIVS), in collaboration with The Guide Dog Foundation of Smithtown, New York. These studies have proven successful in the early detection and treatment of juvenile orthopedic diseases in service dogs. One Medicine Foundation will continue to fund this important research, which keeps these service dogs healthy and extends their very important careers.
Dr. Dominic Marino, DVM, of One Medicine Foundation, has personally worked with the law enforcement community for more than 20 years to improve the long-term care of police dogs.
Extensive continuing education programs have been developed for canine handlers on topics ranging from general to emergency care of police canines. The foundation has sponsored hands on CPR classes and practical laboratories using canine mannequins for training.
Disaster related courses such as radiation, chemical and biomedical hazard courses are being integrated into future training sessions.
With the help of the law enforcement community, an advisory board is being established to oversee the medical care of active and retired police canines and to provide a dignified cremation and police memorial urn to honor these loyal servants at the time of their passing.
On September 11, Long Island Veterinary Specialists (LIVS) doctors and staff were brought on scene to care for the Police K9 teams who were assisting with the search and recovery efforts. They quickly became aware that there was really no plan for field veterinary care during disasters such as this. The LIVS team set up a field veterinary care area on scene similar to a MASH unit to care for these courageous dogs. Many experienced lacerations, burns, inhalation and optical trauma.
The New York Veterinary Foundation is working with LIVS and The Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan for equipping and staffing a canine medical command vehicle for emergency trauma care during disaster situations. These “ambulances” will provide comfort and could save the life of these brave animals, as well as provide a viable staging area for canine teams during catastrophic events.