Mayo Clinic Provides K-9 Medical Training for Minn. Law Enforcement

Aug. 18, 2022
The program held by Mayo Clinic Military Medicine gave over 20 members of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and the St. Paul Police Department free medical training for their K-9 partners.

ROCHESTER, MN—Keeping the bravest of man's best friend safe during tought situations was the goal Thursday.

Members of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and the St. Paul Police Department attended K-9 medical training at the Southeastern Minnesota Regional Training Center on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.

The training, held by Mayo Clinic Military Medicine, provided over 20 law enforcement personnel with free medical training for their K-9 partners.

"I thought it was very beneficial," Olmsted County Sheriff Sgt. Ryan Mangan said. "That was something that we haven't had for many years so it was long overdue."

Mangan, who supervises the Sheriff's Office's seven K-9 units, said he'd like to see other deputies go through the training as well in the event that a dog was hurt, other law enforcement would know what to do.

The program started in Maricopa County in Arizona following about 10 years of general military medicine training courses Mayo has in the state. Mayo has also done K-9 medical training in Florida, according to Amy Low, operations manager for Mayo Clinic Military Medicine.

Law enforcement went in groups of two or three through a training simulation with Diesel, a realistic looking dummy dog from Tactical Solutions, which is designed to bleed and provide feedback to those treating it.

Part of that feedback includes whining, barking and growling, which would be common reactions from a hurt canine. The whining particularly elicited words of comfort towards Diesel from law enforcement going through the training much like it would in the real world.

The need for separate animal care training stems from the fact that police dogs get injured too, and treating them may look a bit different than treating a human.

"A person will generally be appreciative of you helping them," Jessie Milaski, a Mayo Military Medicine education fellow who provided the training Wednesday. "These dogs are trained to bite and oftentimes are scared, and this animal that's trained to bite will bite its handler and will bite anyone trying to help it."

That potential for biting is why one of the first treatment steps for officers would be to muzzle the dog, something that is generally frowned upon when providing medical treatment to humans.

At a cost of more than $50,000, Diesel would be too costly for many law enforcement agencies to purchase on their own.

"A small department would never be able to afford it," Milaski said. "So we're able to provide this training for the handlers if their dog gets shot, injured, stabbed, anything in the line of duty they're going to have the skills necessary to save its life."

Milaski is part of a fellowship with Mayo Clinic that helps military medics transition into civilian life. For Milaski that means studying for the Medical College Admission Test and apply to medical school.

I have this knowledge from the military, and it's only relevant to certain people," Milaski said. "So to me, it's a privilege to be able to help share and maybe make a difference in these guys and their dogs' lives."

Mayo Clinic Military Medicine is directed by Dr. Pierre Noel nationwide and by Dr. Price Rossie in Rochester. The program funded by benefactors, Milaski said.

The program, along with Dr. Lee Palmer with K9 TECC — Tactical Emergency Casualty Care — paid for the expenses for Milaski to travel out to Minnesota and for the equipment used during the training. Each law enforcement officer also received a medical kit.

"It's all community outreach," Milaski said. " But it's because of Dr. Noel and Dr. Rossi, and I think it's important to recognize they made this happen."


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