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Canine Assessment

September 2, 2020

The U.S. Army Medical Department Board, or USAMEDDBD, assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence conducted an operational assessment of the Canine Thermal Monitor, or CTM, Mobile Application and Collar, August 17-21, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Six Non-Commissioned Officers assigned to the 802d Security Force Squadron Military Working Dog, or MWD, Kennel, along with their assigned working dogs assisted with the assessment. The MWDs consisted of male and female canines, ranging in age from two to eight years. The purpose of the event was to assess the functionality and usability of both the CTM mobile application and Collar to support the military working dog mission. The primary focus of the assessment was on the effectiveness to which the CTM mobile application and Collar reduces risks of military working dogs to heat injuries when operated by typical users, MWD handlers and trainers, in a simulated operational environment.

Military working dogs are critical members of tactical missions and are susceptible to similar injuries as their human counterparts. Currently, exertional heat illness and dehydration are among the most common hazards, which require service dog trainers, handlers, and veterinarians to optimize training sessions and operational missions to mitigate heat illness. The Warfighter Health Performance and Evacuation Project Manager requested that the USAMEDDBD conduct this event to assess the ability of both the CTM mobile application and Collar to provide canine physiologic data in order to predict safe work durations and recovery times in an operational environment.

The five-day event took place at the 802d Security Force Squadron MWD Kennel, JBSA-Lackland. The NCOs received six hours of training on both devices prior to putting them into use. After training, the NCOs used the application to plan the intended work cycle for the canine and then configured the collar to train the canine on the planned work cycle, and attached the collar [to the canine] to perform the intend work.

The mobile application provides physiological data analysis to allow military dog trainers, handlers, and veterinarians access to an operational planning tool designed to be readily installed and accessed on any hand-held mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. The Collar is developed to predict safe work durations and recovery times, based on predicted body temperature, for specific training or operational scenarios. The application takes into account environmental conditions, the biophysical properties of the MWD like breed, size, weight and color, physical activity levels, and type of activity of the breed like detection versus patrol.

This MWD technology will enable MWD trainers, handlers, and veterinarians to assess mission safety and feasibility from the perspective of thermal burden.

The results of the assessment will be provided to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, Warfighter Health Performance and Evacuation Product Manager in an operational test report to assist with future development and deployment decisions.

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