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Unleashing Canine-TCCC

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sarah Williams
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The military recognizes the invaluable role of military working dogs in safeguarding our service members, and has begun to focus on including their well-being in the event they sustain critical injuries during military operations.

Military healthcare specialists and working dog handlers have begun to team up for Canine Tactical Combat Casualty Care training to equip medical teams with indispensable knowledge on how to deliver swift and effective care to MWDs. 

“MWDs are treated just as well as humans,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mackenzie Shrives, Aeromedical Evacuation Critical Care Air Transport Team physician. “They have their own ranks, awards, and medals. We treat them the same as us and they deserve proper medical care.”

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. DeAndre Turner, Security Forces military working dog handler, looked down at MWD Bonie as he expressed how important it is to have qualified medical personnel perform life-saving measures in the event he wasn’t able to help his dog.

“Bonie and I are going on two years,” said Turner. “It’d be emotional if something ever happened to her, so it gives me a lot of relief knowing that if I can’t help her then personnel that are properly trained can.”

During the training participants focused on accessing and treating massive hemorrhaging, airway, respiratory, circulation, and head injury and hypothermia.

Strives glanced at a military working dog as she explained that Canine-TCCC changed how she’ll prepare for future emergency medical situations. She expressed her medical bag would now be packed differently to include a razor blade to shave fur for better IV access, the correct size chest tubes, and even a dog blood pressure cuff.

“I work with MWDs, so I’m expected to know how to take care of them,” said Shrives. “I need to know about the subtle differences between humans and dogs when stabilizing and resuscitating them during a traumatic injury. The medical community has a duty not only to service members but also to the MWDs that help protect us every day.”

TCCC has become the new standard of medical training proficiency for military personnel to prepare them for potential combat situations in an ongoing effort to heighten medical readiness.

By expanding TCCC training and skills to provide better care to MWDs, expeditionary Airmen can add to their readiness and battlefield capabilities across the world.