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News | Oct. 10, 2023

Caring for military working dogs’ dental health

By Janice Erdlitz, Lyster Army Health Clinic

How do dentists prepare for patients at Brown Dental Clinic at Fort Novosel?
If it’s a four-legged patient, then you’ll see a collaboration between the installation’s dental and veterinary teams.

Recently, Capt. Blakely McCormick, DMD, from Brown Dental Clinic joined Capt. Jacquelynn Watson, DVM, from the Fort Novosel Veterinary Clinic, for the semi-annual dental exams and cleanings on the military working dogs (MWD) at Fort Novosel.

Capt. McCormick recently joined the Brown Dental Clinic team this summer after finishing a 1-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency program at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. “I wanted to familiarize myself with the process of a dental appointment for the military working dogs. Sometimes emergency situations will arise, and the Veterinary team will need dental assistance. Working with Capt. Watson’s team was amazing. I really enjoyed learning in a hands-on environment,” explained McCormick.

The collaboration between the clinics and military working dog handlers provided a vital learning opportunity to help prepare the team for emergency situations as well as building interdisciplinary relationships to ensure the best treatment for military working dogs.

Capt. Watson, the Fort Novosel Veterinary Treatment Facility, officer in charge (OIC), also joined the Fort Novosel team this summer, arriving from her last duty station at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). “Caring for MWDs is the most rewarding aspect of my job,” remarked Watson.
“It is my passion, and I am honored to be in a role that ensures MWDs are healthy and capable to go out and complete their mission. We owe the MWDs the best possible care, which includes caring for their teeth. It is fundamental to maintain a MWD's teeth as they must sustain their bite strength to fully perform their jobs.”

Military working dogs are considered a military service member and can be found serving wherever American troops do. “It only happens occasionally, but in a situation where a (human) dentist's expertise is needed, it is typically urgent,” continued Watson emphasizing the importance of maintaining dental health of MWDs.

Watson went on to share, “I look forward to continuing working with the dentists on Fort Novosel in the future to further train one another in our respective areas of expertise!”

To learn more about Brown Dental Clinic visit or follow their Facebook page, Brown Dental Clinic - Fort Novosel. You can read more about Fort Novosel Veterinary Treatment Facility at
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