News: Army supports the Air Force mission
Story by Senior Airman Jared Duhon
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. - The Army is the only branch in the Department of Defense with a veterinary corps.
Not all bases have a veterinary treatment facility, but, Dover Air Force Base, Del., is one that does.
"Our main priority on Dover AFB is the military working dogs," said Army Staff Sgt. Alicia Altman, Public Health Command Dover Branch NCO in charge. "But we do provide basic public health for pets with owners that are enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and are Tricare eligible."
Altman explained that the facility provides preventative public health services to include shots, tests or cleanings which ensures pets are healthy. These services lower the chances of owners getting sick from their pets.
"We do not do broken legs or hospitalizations," she said. "But, what we can do is direct you to somewhere that can help take care of your pet."
The veterinary treatment facility works on an appointment basis.
"We are open Monday through Friday, appointments only," said Altman. "The only emergency services we can provide are for the military working dogs. Also, we can only treat cats and dogs."
The clinic can also help with items needed when members do a permanent change of station move with a pet.
"Some pet owners forget that owning a pet there are certain responsibilities you take on," said Altman. "One is making sure they comply with host nations rules. Microchips and rabies shots is one of the biggest problems we see with members transferring to an overseas duty location."
Microchips are implanted into pets and are coded with a 15 digit number Altman explained. If that chip is not in pets when the rabies shot are completed, you would have to recomplete the test.
"If there is any advice I would give to new owners is get the microchip," said Army Spc. Sara Wolf, Public Health Command Dover Branch animal care specialist. "Get the microchip when the pet is young so you do not have to worry about it later."
Some countries are extremely strict about pets having the chip and shots being done a certain way.
"Even if you think you may have a permanent change of station to an overseas location, come in and begin the process and get a checklist," said Altman. "I would rather start it and not need it then the other way around. Some processes can take upwards to five months."
Tech. Sgt. Andrew Barnes, 436th Maintenance Squadron storage shop chief, said the veterinary treatment facility does a great job.
"The service here was excellent," he said. "I highly recommend the clinic."
For more information about services available, contact the veterinary treatment facility at (302)677-5252.