Squadron Leader Stuart Marshall of Batley was surprised to discover he would be treating military working dogs, as well as providing an emergency service to Nato troops during his dental tour of duty at Kandahar Airfield.
Sqd Ldr Marshall, 37, had never treated an animal before he arrived in Afghanistan three weeks ago.
But he has so far helped repair the teeth of two military dogs and is set to perform root canal treatment on a third later this week.
The father-of-one 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. It is easier treating dogs than humans, because they are always asleep. The teeth are bigger and the roots longer, but the dentistry is the same.”
Sqd Ldr Marshall has helped treat a five-year-old Belgium Malinois called Zino, who had been distracted from his job in explosive detection and patrol work by dental problems.
He helped successfully operate on Zino, removing an upper and lower molar.