FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Diesel, an animatronic dog used to simulate realistic care for military working dogs, assisted medical personnel within the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy during a training exercise August 13.
Capt. Gabrielle Schrader and her team with the 422nd Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services) train joint branch medical personnel how to care for military working dogs who experience trauma when they are first line responders.
“There are oftentimes very few veterinarians available to get to canine casualties, especially in a timely manner,” said Schrader. “So, we train these guys on canine first aid and tactical combat care to help save the lives of the patients.”
Realistic features of Diesel are what make these trainings so beneficial to medical personnel. The animatronic dog is lifelike in both its length and weight, has a working heartbeat and responds to practice procedures with various levels of breathing, bleeding and barking.
The tactical care training consisted of proper hemorrhage and wound care, needle chest decompression insertion, clearing of airway obstructions and general military dog handling procedures.
Joint branch training is conducted throughout the year in order to maintain cohesiveness between military personnel and to reinforce knowledge of procedures that may be outside of their standard scope of practice.
“We rely on human health care providers. One of these people may be saving a dog's life, and in turn that saves their handler's life,” Schrader said. “We may not be the big flashy ER doctors running the big hospital, but we are behind the scenes helping care for the overall health of the dogs and the Soldiers.”