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NEWS | May 17, 2013

JBLE Veterinary Treatment Facilities: A four-legged mission

By Senior Airman Teresa Aber 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

For many military members, not all of their family members stand on two feet. For some, four-legged, furry animals are extremely important members of their family, and taking care of them is a top priority.

Luckily for those Service members, Veterinary Treatment Facilities at Langley Air Force Base and Fort Eustis, Va., provide comprehensive veterinary services to keep pets and military working dogs in tip-top shape.

The VTFs are staffed by U.S. Army Veterinary Corps personnel with the primary mission of providing complete veterinary care for all government-owned animals.

"We take care of just about everything for the MWDs," said U.S. Army Maj. Gerri Fletcher, Public Health Command, Fort Eustis branch chief. "They come to us for everything from vaccines to removing items the MWDs may have ingested that they shouldn't have."

For the MWDs, the veterinary clinic provides bi-annual check-ups, dental services, routine sick call, emergency care and deployment physicals.

The personnel at the veterinary clinics also perform safety inspections at the MWD kennels, as well as the horse stables located on both installations. Inspections at the stables include ensuring all horses are current on required vaccines, especially during hurricane season.

"Horses that are not up-to-date on their vaccines are not allowed to be relocated during hurricane evacuations," Fletcher said. "It's important that we make sure the animals living on the installations are living in safe environments and are current on their vaccines."

While the veterinary clinics' priority is to provide care for government-owned animals, they also take pride in care for Service members' privately-owned pets.

"Our staff understands how important your pets are to you," said Staff Sgt. Darlene, VTF noncommissioned officer in charge. "We want to make sure your pet gets the best possible care, while not breaking the bank in the process."

Langley's VTF recently moved to a new location, allowing for more space to provide routine physicals, vaccines and dental care. In the near future, they will have X-ray capabilities and be able to perform some basic surgical procedures, such as spaying and neutering pets.

Part of their mission is also the prevention and treatment of zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, that can be transmitted from animals to humans, or from humans to animals.

"We want to make sure the animals and people are safe," said Fletcher. "We have to work together to make sure all animals are up to date on their vaccines."

While the VTFs offer many routine services for personally-owned animals, to ensure the highest level of care in an emergency case, animals needing extensive care are best served through a full-service civilian veterinary hospital due to the VTFs' limited manpower and resources.

With the highest quality veterinary care available, Joint-Base Langley-Eustis personnel can rest assured the four-legged members of their extended family are in the best of health, and military working dogs are in the best condition to protect their military community.