Squadron leader Stuart Marshall and dental nurse private Naomi Kingsbury were called in to assist Zino, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, when Zino's handler noticed something was wrong.
Squadron leader Marshall and private Kingsbury are part of the dental team working at Kandahar Air Field, treating International Security Assistance Force personnel and dealing with all emergency cases, and have a close link to the Base Veterinary Surgery. Both Zino and his handler, Craig Vantonver from South Africa, specialise in explosive detection and patrol work.
Military working dogs play a significant role in counter insurgency and explosive device detection. Squadron leader Marshall said: 'The dogs do jobs our guys just can't do.'
Squadron leader Marshall and Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Kier, the US Army officer at the head of the dental clinic, successfully operated on Zino, removing an upper and lower molar. After the operation, squadron leader Marshall said: 'It’s brilliant, really interesting and nice to be doing something different. Dogs are really important out here and they do a lot of work. If they have a problem with their teeth then they can’t work, and their condition can quickly worsen.'
Zino's handler, Craig Vantonver, was incredibly grateful for the efforts of the dental team. He said: 'Squadron leader Marshall told me Zino should be back to his usual self within a week, and we hope to have him back doing detection work about one week later.
'Zino will have to get used to not having his back teeth pretty quickly; I reward him with his favourite toy… and he chews it with those teeth!'
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