ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Airmen aren’t the only ones expected to be fit to fight.
Military working dogs’ health must be top notch to serve the mission as well. To keep them at the top of their game is Robins’ Veterinary Treatment Facility’s primary mission.
Army Sgt. Jennifer Alvarez, Robins’ VTF NCOIC and an animal care specialist at the facility, said the staff’s mission is twofold.
“Our primary mission is the readiness and wellbeing of the military working dogs assigned to Robins,” she said. “Our secondary mission is assisting in the readiness of service members’ pets and preventive medicine.
“Pets are an important part of a service member’s family,” she added.
During the stressful time of PCS or deployment, the staff assists with health certificates, Rabies tests, vaccinations, medication and prevention.
“Service members are ultimately responsible for ensuring their pet meets the requirements for the country they’re moving to,” she said. “Ensuring pets are vaccinated is an important part of preventive medicine. Healthy and vaccinated pets decrease the risk of spreading zoonotic disease. When our pets are healthy, our community is healthy.”
The facility’s current lack of a full-time veterinarian means services are a bit limited for now.
“We’re actively trying to hire a new veterinarian,” Alvarez said. “In the meantime, our branch officer in charge and commander, Capt. Greenwood, drives from Fort Stewart, Georgia, every two weeks for one to two days to see patients on our waiting list.”
Robins’ vet clinic does what it can to help eligible pet owners keep their furry loved ones healthy.
“We sell prevention and fill prescription for patients we’ve seen in the past 12 months,” Alvarez said. “We also recently purchased a new ultrasound machine, and we have requested a new radiology machine as well.”
While the facility is not a full-service clinic now, the staff has hopes it will be in the future.
“We’re taking measures to work towards that goal,” Alvarez said. “We want to provide more services as there is a need for them in the community. For our standard-cost surgical service, I refer our clients to Fort Benning, Fort Stewart and Moody Air Force Base. The lower cost can definitely be worth the drive.”
Alvarez said she’s astonished by how many people have no idea that there are veterinary clinics on bases.
“On almost every installation that has MWDs, there’s a vet clinic,” she said. “We encourage service members to use our services. Typically, the services are a lot cheaper than off base.
According to Alvarez, regardless where you’re stationed, every base veterinary clinic will have the same prices. There are a few variations when it comes to prevention and prescriptions.
The facility now has an app called MilPetED that offers information on pet care and can help people find the veterinary clinics in their state.
For more information, call the veterinary clinic at 478-327-8448.