K-9 Down wet lab
K-9 Down wet lab

While the professional handlers of K-9 officers and search-and- rescue dogs are often trained in first aid for people, their knowledge of the K-9 anatomy is often limited. Knowing what to look for, health-wise, can identify issues before they become serious -- or even save the dog's life. These dogs are working officers, but they are also members of the handlers' families, and handlers are anxious to provide them with the best care possible.

K9 Heroes First Aid Course is offered exclusively to active-duty K9 handlers. Frankie’s Friends invites handlers to bring their K9 partners with them for hands-on experience with their own dogs. Because the dogs are present for the physical exam portion of the course, participation is usually limited to 8-10 handlers per session. Donations are needed to offset the $75 cost/participant of the presentation binder, quick reference guides, first aid duffle kit and light dinner. 

This program was developed for professional handlers of K-9 officers and search-and-rescue dogs to train the participants in first-aid and preventive care of their dogs. A four-part Powerpoint presentation was created by John Gicking, DVM, DAVACC, of BluePearl in Tampa, and Nicole Rudd, CVT, college instructor for a Tampa veterinary technology program. The program is led by volunteer veterinarians who are assisted by certified veterinary technicians. The curriculum includes the following:

1.5 hours lecture-style training    “Nose to Tail Physical Exam Performed in the Field & at Home”

Physical exam techniques to prevent small problems from becoming big ones; practice on their own K9s so they become comfortable with and familiar with their partner’s physique

    Conditionscovered: Bloat; heat exhaustion and heat stroke; pad and toe injuries; lacerations, puncture & bite wounds; toxicities (drugs, gun powders, etc.); foreign material ingestion; diarrhea & vomiting; eyes & ears; lameness & fractures; bites (other dogs, snakes, spiders, etc.); and more

    First Aid When It Matters for Your K9 Officer: Moving an injured animal; in-the-field injuries; initial wound care & bandaging; etc.

1 hour lab-style training    “Hands-On Practice with Your Own K9 Partner

Practice in physical exam techniques on their own dogs, guided by the instructors

This program was developed and made possible by a grant from the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation through their Community Heroes program, which honored Cindy Roberts of C.O.P.S., whose husband, a K-9 officer for the Tampa Police Department, was killed in the line of duty in 2009. For information on hosting a K-9 Heroes First Aid Course in your community, contact Sandy Traynor, 813.682.1346