Hebrew University to the rescue

July 17, 2015 by Dov Smith
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Jerusalem’s Hebrew University has performed an unusual dental operation…on a military Belgian Shepherd dog.

Dano  Credit: Veterinary Teaching Hospital / Hebrew University

Dano Credit: Veterinary Teaching Hospital / Hebrew University

Meet Dano: a 7-year-old Malinois (short-haired Belgian Shepherd Dog), whose military service includes two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where his responsibilities included explosives detection.

While serving in Afghanistan, Dano was wounded in action, fracturing his left upper canine tooth (fang). The tooth was treated by a root canal therapy and filling, and Dano was re-assigned to The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai. The MFO is an independent international organization with peacekeeping responsibilities that received a mandate from Egypt and Israel to supervise the implementation of the military Annex to their 1979 Treaty of Peace and to exert best efforts to prevent any violation of the Annex’s terms.

Several weeks ago, trouble struck again, as Dano re-fractured his tooth while on duty. Suffering from an exposed nerve, Dano needed immediate attention. But unfortunately the medical care he needed was not available at his camp

Luckily for Dano, the MFO recently established a collaboration with the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH), where students of the Hebrew University’s Koret School of Veterinary Medicine receive their clinical training. It is the only hospital in Israel with modern facilities and equipment staffed by more than 45 veterinarians and a comprehensive range of internationally and nationally recognized specialists.

Dano under sedation  Credit: Veterinary Teaching Hospital / Hebrew University

Dano under sedation Credit: Veterinary Teaching Hospital / Hebrew University

Along with a doctor, veterinarian and dog handler, Dano traveled from the Sinai Peninsula to the VTH. There he met Dr. Yoav Bar-Am, the only board certified veterinary dentist and oral surgeon in Israel. Dr. Bar-Am was fully equipped to put the bite back in this K-9.

After Dano received general anesthesia, his dental radiographs and mouth were carefully evaluated. Dr. Bar-Am found that although Dano’s tooth had fractured and the filling was lost, the previous root canal remained intact. So Dr. Bar-Am re-shaped the contour of the tooth, smoothed the sharp edges of the fracture line, and prepared and placed a composite filling that matched the tooth’s natural color.

“For a working dog, we attempt to do heroic things to save the tooth, so they can continue to go about their jobs,” said Dr. Bar-Am, who has operated on U.S. and Israeli working dogs in both the United States and Israel.

Professor  Credit: Veterinary Teaching Hospital / Hebrew University

Dr Yoav Bar-Am   Credit: Veterinary Teaching Hospital / Hebrew University

Thanks to the treatment he received, Dano and his Peacekeeping team were able to go home the same day and return to full duty.

“This is the first time Dano has been medevac’d,” said Staff Sgt. John Breyer, military working dog handler who has been paired with Dano for four years. “The standard for these dogs is to have a high level of care.”

“We accomplished our goals, the plan was tested and Dano got the care he needed,” said Capt. Andress, the force veterinarian for the MFO.

The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine is part of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The goals of the Koret School are to educate and train highly qualified veterinary students, with special emphasis on the specific needs of Israel, so that they will be able to meet the present and future challenges of the veterinary profession. The Koret School is committed to serving as the country’s major referral center for veterinarians and to maintaining a center of unique excellence in veterinary medicine in the Middle East. For more information, visit http://ksvm.agri.huji.ac.il/en.

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