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Military Working Dog Decontamination Kit


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Chem Bio_defense 

OBJECTIVE: Develop a decontamination kit and procedure for decontamination of field-exposed military working dogs. 

DESCRIPTION: Military Working Dogs (MWDs) are at risk from exposure to a range of hazardous chemicals encountered during military operations. These include the classical chemical warfare agents (CWAs) including mustard (HD), nerve agent (VX) and G-agents, as well as Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs), and abused drugs such as opioids. On such exposure, it is essential to have an effective decontamination system to eliminate the hazard as rapidly as possible to protect both the dogs and their handlers. The objective of this topic is to create a military working dog decontamination kit that can achieve a contamination level objective of 90% reduction in starting challenge (2 LD50s based on average weight of a canine (80-100 lbs)) until thorough decontamination can be conducted. The military working dog decontamination kit will be lightweight, highly portable and designed for use in the field within one hour of contamination by a single handler in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE; includes protective mask, suit, gloves and boots) with limited external resources. Potential military working dog decontamination kit materials could include but are not limited to an indicator or detector of contamination, and existing decontamination technologies such as Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL), sorbents, wipes, and reactive chemical solutions. Veterinary dermatological (or other) treatments with potential efficacious properties for chemical agents could also be considered. The procedures and decontamination technologies should take into account features of working dogs and potential decontamination areas with different physical characteristics, including fur, skin, paws, eyes, nose and ears, and liquid agent wicking from hair to skin follicles. Offerors should keep in mind the size and type of breeds typically utilized in military operations including Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever. If tests with live animals are proposed, that work must be conducted in accordance with all applicable animal use regulations. The military working dog decontamination kit should be modular to allow the warfighter to select critical components as needed. The kit could be split and partially carried on the canine in small pouches on sides of a vest; however these must be light and soft materials (tearable pouches, rollable to fit into packs, etc.). 

PHASE I: Determine potential indicator or detector technologies that can be used to ascertain contamination on the canine, and determine decontamination candidates to include wet and dry decontaminants for chemical agents for use in the field with limited external resources. Decontamination candidates should not require additional water or consumables and should be easily utilized when the handler is in full PPE. Evaluate the effectiveness of the highest priority identified decontamination materials, methods and toxicity on fur, paws, eyes and skin using a chemical surrogate on canine cadavers. Threats include simulants for mustard and nerve agents. Verify that total remaining simulant can be reduced to or below performance objective levels. Down-select the best decontamination candidate(s) for inclusion in the military working dog decontamination kit for development and testing in Phase II. Analyze and document the potential effects of the decontamination materials and processes on handlers. Estimate costs, transportability and storage stability of the materials. 

PHASE II: Demonstrate the decontamination effectiveness against live mustard and nerve agents such as HD, GD, and VX on biopsy, excised skin or canine cadavers. Validate that the total remaining agent is at or below performance objectives. Chemical agent testing must be conducted at an approved DoD facility, or commercial facility that has been approved to handle DoD generated agents. Demonstrate modularity of kit components. Deliver ten (10) military working dog decontamination kits, each containing decontamination supplies sufficient to decontaminate one (1) contaminated military working dog, a clean leash/collar system and muzzle for the MWD post-decon, and instructions for most efficacious decontamination of military working dogs with these materials. In addition, each kit should be clearly labeled for K9 use. 

PHASE III: PHASE III: Optimize the decontamination kit and process with additional threats, and demonstrate its effectiveness with end users in a field test, e.g., potentially a chemical/biological operational assessment or advanced technology demonstration. Use feedback from end-users to further optimize the decontamination kit. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This technology will be valuable to military working dogs, police dogs, and other similar working dogs involved at various government agencies, as well as dog handlers/trainers. 


1: Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Airborne Chemicals, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

2:  Handbook of Chemical and Biological Warfare Agent Decontamination by G.O. Bizzigotti, R.P. Rhoads and S.J. Lee

3:  ILM Publications, 2012.

4:  Health Effects of Project Shad Chemical Agent: VX Nerve Agent. 2004 Prepared for the National Academies by The Center for Research Information, Inc.

5:  Field Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties Handbook 5th Ed. 2016, Borden Institute US Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence, US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Office of the Surgeon General US Army, pp. 149-174.

KEYWORDS: Canine, Military Working Dog, Decontamination, Chemical Warfare, Hazardous Materials 

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