The RAAF brushes up on dog health at JCU

18 November 2015

Vets at James Cook University have been teaching the Royal Australian Air Force how to better look after its working dogs.
Members of the No 2 Security Forces Squadron from RAAF Base Townsville have been at JCU School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science for the past four weeks, learning more about their canine partners.

JCU Veterinary School
LAC Scott Marshall and “Hammer” (Photo credit: JCU)

Leading Aircraftman Scott Marshall said the vets had shown the handlers how to provide first aid to their dogs in the field. “None of our dogs have been on deployment yet, so the big dangers around Townsville are dehydration and snakebite,” he said. “We’ve learned how to deal with those effectively in the field along with battle injuries.”
The RAAF’s dogs are either German shepherds or Belgian Malinois, used for intruder detection and tracking. “They have great noses and they live to work,” said LAC Marshall. “They’re not too big and not too small—they’re the right dog for the right task.”
He and his two-year-old German shepherd “Hammer” had been working together for just over a year.
JCU Veterinary School lecturer Dr Linda Hayes said she was trying to help dog handlers gain insight into the anatomy and physiology of their canine companions.
“The vet school is providing RAAF dog handlers with a better appreciation of functional canine anatomy to help them understand the animals they work closely with every day, both ‘inside and out’. This knowledge helps them to reassess and modify their current training techniques and enables them to become more proficient when providing first aid treatment for their dogs out in the field,” she said.

About JCU Veterinary School

The JCU has offered the Bachelor of Veterinary Science program since 2006. Students will acquire the knowledge and skills to diagnose, treat and prevent disease in a wide range of animals including companion animals, farm animals, aquatic species and native fauna. In addition, students will acquire a thorough knowledge of animal production systems, particularly tropical animal husbandry and aquaculture.
The veterinary science program offers state-of-the-art teaching facilities in a new veterinary emergency and referral clinic on the Townsville campus and a specialist large-animal treatment facility on the tablelands, which provide clinical experience and training for final-year students.

Do you have questions about JCU Veterinary School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Veterinary Schools Officer Rachel Brady at or 1-866-698-7355 for more information.