Page 9 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
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wrapped on the bite, Franco explained this dog was displaying excellent Genetics.
Day Two
I arrived at the training centre, straight away we were asked to get our equipment and go out to the compound next to the kennels, we were told to get changed into our scratch pants and to get our sleeves out, Franco attached a back tie to the chain linked fence behind him, and demonstrated the correct method to present a sleeve, we were doing this ‘dry’ meaning we had no dog, Franco selected one of the students to replicate a dog. Once demonstrated we partnered up and took it in turns to deliver the sleeve, we did this in sets, twenty-five reps in four sets, Franco explained this was done to install muscle memory, by the 90th rep I could feel the burn, we practiced prey and defence whilst presenting over and over, each exercise had to be correctly delivered or the set would restart, this was arduous but enjoyable! Just as the OC in 101 likes training!!
After lunch we started with a warm up, this entailed a circuit, we were doing lunges burpees, press ups and sprints, sounds like a typical PT lesson, however, this circuit was done in a bite suit, after the warm we went through more dry drills, we went through chest, back and more
arm bites, this was hard work, it was all broken down into stages to enable us to grasp it easier. The day finished, it was very intensive, very physical but a great day once again.
Day Three
We moved to a new location, it was a large country estate utilised by Thames Valley Police in Surrey. We all RV’d and started by going through static bites with live dogs, they were all on back ties, Franco took us through one by one, I went through the first exercise after observing others and picking up on tips Franco gave, we moved on from the dogs being on back ties to long sends, this exercise was designed to teach us how to disseminate the energy when a dog initially engages, this was a key element of the early lessons, about breaking dogs and causing serious injuries to them. Throughout the whole day Franco was developing the dogs’ bites, you could see a vast difference from what they were doing on the first day.
The day was again intensive and hard work, my arms in particular were bruised which is a good sign that the dogs were doing what they should be.
Day Four
The final day of the course, we again used
another training area, a wooded area used by the Thames Valley Police; we had more dogs to use than previous. We recapped on everything we had learnt throughout the course. We concluded with leg bites, we suited up and added groin protectors, this was a new technique that I’d never done before, and it was quite an experience having a large Belgian Shepherd biting so close to your groin whilst being down on the floor. We came to the conclusion of the very useful course; we all had a group photo with Franco and were awarded our certificates, we were also presented with a challenge coin each, at this point we all exchanged contacts and departed. The knowledge possessed and passed on by Franco is second to none, if I would recommend any course to any of my new RAVC counterparts, this would be it! Why?? - This course is one of the best courses I have done I found it both mentally and physically demanding yet interesting and very enjoyable. Much more importantly I have acquired an abundance of knowledge and skills required to be a decoy that will aide me as I progress in my new career working as a Military Working Dog Handler and I am keen to impart much of this to my fellow Reservists later in the year.
 In the small animal veterinary world, a ‘foreign body’ in a patient is a worrying and unfortunately common occurrence. It is an emergency if the object that the dog has managed to get his/her paws on to eat has caused an obstruction, resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea. Fortunately, in our working animal fleet, this is a rare presentation due to careful kennel management. If there is a problem (usually when someone has noticed there is a chunk of Kong missing) it is recognised early and so easily fixed before the foreign body goes too far down the digestive tract.
On the equine side of things, we don’t often see foreign bodies. However, during the hunting season, all equine vets know they need to keep a look out for thorns. These spiky (and not always small) foreign bodies can get themselves lodged into many parts of the horse and can cause a spectrum of issues for that animal. This problem occurs in horses that are taken hunting, because frequently the obstacles for the horses to jump are hedges which contain thorn bushes. If the horse brushes through the hedge, a thorn can get stuck, usually on a leg or on the horse’s ventral abdomen. The worst-case scenario is for a thorn to become lodged within a joint, as the horse will become acutely lame and require surgery as soon as possible to remove the thorn. The quicker the thorn is removed, the more favourable the
By Captain Emma Peal
recovery will be.
During the current hunting season,
we have seen a couple of thorn injuries in our horses and all have made a full recovery. The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery both sent up horses for hunting to improve and maintain the horses’ fitness and to train both horse and rider. Hunting country around Melton Mowbray is notorious
and so it is the best place in the UK for the horses to be based for the season.
The most recent foreign body was found in a King’s Troop gelding, nicknamed ‘Trevor’. The day after hunting, his right carpus (knee) was swollen. Trevor was very comfortable and was sound at both walk and trot, which was encouraging. In order to diagnose the cause of the swelling, imaging of the area was carried out. Nothing abnormal was seen on radiographs and although ultrasound of the area was conducted, the swelling prevented diagnostic images from being obtained.
Back in the lines, the soldiers managed Trevor’s swelling with frequent cold hosing and walking out. Once the swelling had considerably reduced, examination of the area with ultrasound showed an echogenic (bright white) structure, surrounded by a small hypoechoic (black) area. This fits with the ultrasound appearance of a thorn, surrounded by a small amount of fluid (likely to be pus) which was lodged underneath the skin over the carpus. Once the thorn was located, Trevor received some sedation to make sure that he stood still and a local anaesthetic block was put around the area so that he wouldn’t be able to feel where he was being operated on. A needle was then inserted over the thorn, using ultrasound guidance. It was possible to see on the ultrasound when the needle was touching the thorn. Once it was in place, the needle was used as a marker and an incision was made down onto it. A small amount of purulent material came out of the incision and then a large thorn was visible at which point it could be removed. The area was cleaned and then the skin was closed using staples. Trevor’s leg was then bandaged up to keep the wound clean and dry. The thorn was put in a pot and the soldiers asked to keep it! (See picture, inserted). Trevor recovered well and has now gone back to Woolwich where he will resume his ceremonial duties.
Foreign bodies in Animals

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