MDG team helps working dog regain bite

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christopher Raimondi
  • 95th Medical Group
The military can offer many valuable experiences from both a professional and personal standpoint that a civilian may never have the opportunity to do.

I would like to share one of my experiences with you.

In October, I was contacted by Capt. Andrea Winkel, Edwards veterinarian, who asked for assistance with dental treatment for one of the base military working dogs.

The dog had suddenly become unwilling to bite with any appreciable force and would instantly release. I had never performed dental treatment on an animal, but I knew that other than anatomical variations, the basic principles of dentistry are the same as humans.

I had not examined this dog's teeth, but I knew that his symptom of not willing to bite with force could potentially be caused by many different conditions such as cavities, a fractured tooth, or a dental infection/abscess.

I quickly assembled a dental team consisting of my civilian assistant, Natalie Ellis, Senior Airman Eric Rosales, 95th MDG dental technician, and Capt. Thomas Reynolds, 95th MDG general dentist.

An extraordinary amount of dental equipment was needed to be mobilized to the Veterinarian Clinic so that any necessary dental procedure could be performed.

Mrs. Ellis went above and beyond her responsibilities and led the effort to package together the necessary equipment.

Once the dog was anesthetized by Captain Winkel, I was able to examine and diagnose that the dog had a fractured mandibular canine that required immediate extraction. The extraction was quite challenging and required a surgical approach due to the long root anatomy and complexity of the root fracture.

The procedure ran well past the end of the duty day, but in the end, the extraction was successful and I was very proud to have a team of committed members performing well under unfamiliar and stressful conditions.

I want to thank everyone who volunteered to treat this valuable member of our Air Force and for creating this memorable experience for me.

"The military spends a lot of time and resources training these dogs for their missions so it is important to maintain their health." Col. Stephen Murrell, Edwards Dental Clinic flight commander, said. "I was glad that we were able to provide assistance to Captain Winkel for the care of our working dogs."