Healthy Canines for Canines

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colby L. Hardin
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Military working dog handlers keep busy working with dogs throughout the duty day. But after work, the dogs can't take care of themselves.

Caring for a dog can be a lot of hard work. Especially when it's a MWD.

"This is a job that you have to want to do," said Kyle Tredway, 22nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. "It's a lot more work than your normal security forces job. We're usually in early and end up staying late."

Tredway and his MWD, Britt, visited to the McConnell dental clinic Sept. 18, to have a x-rays appointment. Most dogs require a visit to the vet every six to 12 months. But this was a special case, where the handler noticed something was off about the way Britt was acting.

"We noticed that Britt had what seemed to be dental problem," said Tredway. "He was having bleeding of the gums and wasn't as aggressive during his bite work as usual."

McConnell's clinic doesn't receive many canine patients, so this was also an experience for someone who has never had the chance to do an exam on an animal.

"Dental was kind enough to allow us to collaborate with them and use their equipment," said Erin Hiskett, McConnell's veterinarian. "Because we don't have x-ray capabilities in this office."

There are many differences between a dog's mouth and a human's, but one thing that is similar is that it is crucial to the overall health of the dog just like humans. Most of the work done by the dentist for the working dog is preventive.

"With the working dogs it's not like us going to the dentist," added Hiskett. "We can't just have them sit there and get the images that we need."

The canine was sedated with his handler at his side in ordered for the procedure to begin.

"I was basically there as a comfort tool for the dog and somewhat of a subject matter expert," added Tredway. "Depending on how serious the procedure is, being in the room can get a little emotional."

Taking care of the MWDs that take care of us is not all work. It's good to show them that they're not just your partner on the job but that they're really an Airmen's best friend.