Spotlight Practice

June 2019 Spotlight Practice

Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Veterinary Hospital

JBSA-Lackland, Texas

AARV Members:
Andrea L. Henderson, DVM, CCRT, CCRP, MS, DACVSMR
Kelley Meyer, LVT, CCRP, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation)

 

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Located at JBSA-Lackland in Texas, the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Veterinary Hospital provides veterinary specialty referral services and consultation to federally-owned working dogs worldwide, as well as routine care for military working dogs in training or utilized as training aids for dog handlers. The Holland Military Working Dog Hospital has incorporated physical rehabilitation for Military Working Dogs for over a decade, making it the only U.S. Army Veterinary facility of its kind.

The rehabilitation program was pioneered by Ms. Kelley Meyer, LVT, CCRP, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation), and operated under the oversight of the hospital's chief surgeon. Ms. Meyer identified and filled a critical role for rehabilitation therapy and post-operative care in Military Working Dogs (MWDs) with musculoskeletal injury and surgery. Due to increasing recognition of the need for sports medicine and rehabilitation expertise for Military Working Dogs, Ms. Meyer was joined by Dr. Andrea Henderson, DVM, MS, DACVSMR, in 2014, taking on the inaugural role of Chief of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Since that time, the program has expanded its focus to increase the implementation of conditioning programs for injury prevention and performance improvement in MWDs. In 2018, the service was moved into a newly-renovated $1-million-dollar facility and Ms. Michelle Behl, CVT, was brought to the rehab team.


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The Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Department offers a full range of modalities including extracorporeal shockwave therapy, therapeutic laser, therapeutic ultrasound, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, autologous conditioned plasma administration and professional manual therapeutic techniques. The facility also has two underwater treadmills and a pool with jets, a large exercise room complete with dry treadmills, a treadmill equipped with a gait analysis pressure mat, and a variety of obstacles and rehab equipment that can be variably configured to challenge the dogs, work certain muscle groups and progress them as needed. They offer training and behavioral techniques to encourage dogs to engage in exercises with proper form and provide a progressive level of challenging exercises to return dogs to their duties in top shape. An additional service that they offer is cardiovascular reconditioning for working dogs with a history of poor stamina or recurrent episodes of exercise-induced hyperthermia. They are also involved in several ongoing research projects to investigate lumbosacral stenosis, heat injury, fitness assessment and effects of conditioning on performance and physiological parameters in working dogs.

The Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at the Holland Military Working Dog Hospital has grown tremendously since Ms. Meyer's original vision became a reality. The role of sports medicine and rehabilitation is becoming well-established as a fundamental component of veterinary care of canine athletes. We are honored to work with these tremendous warriors and are excited to engage in continued expansion of this essential aspect of their care.

Article written by AARV Member Andrea L. Henderson, DVM, CCRT, CCRP, MS, DACVSMR

Service Chief, Preferred Contact:
Andrea L. Henderson, DVM, CCRT, CCRP, MS, DACVSMR
Chief of Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation
Email: andrea.henderson2@us.af.mil

 

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