We never hesitate to celebrate the Military Working Dogs serving at home and abroad alongside our Army soldiers to keep our country safe. You’ve learned how to send a care package to an army dog, heard individual tales of their heroism, and learned about legislation to guarantee them a safe return home. But did you know about the soldiers that look after their health and wellbeing?
This June, the Army Veterinary Corps will celebrate its 100 year anniversary. The Army is the only branch of the U.S. Military with clinical veterinarians, and their dedicated mission is to provide care for our dogs in harm’s way: everything from routine check-ups to emergency surgeries. Army veterinarians are stationed all over the world to provide support to all branches of the military.
Army veterinarians, as described by Captain Erin Stein, Veterinary Officer, do a little bit of everything: “We are everything that a civilian veterinarian is, combined with everything than an Army officer and soldier is.” Like civilian veterinarians, army veterinarians have gone through at least eight years of higher education to earn their doctorate.
Army veterinarians work with the handlers of Military Working Dogs to provide both routine and emergency veterinary care to the dogs. The Army offers a full range of veterinary specialists, with surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, and more. From home base to the battlefield, our bravest dogs always have access to care. When one of our Military Working Dogs suffers injuries on the battlefield, the Army Veterinary Corps is ready.
Army veterinarians have other areas of responsibility. They attend to wildlife and to privately owned animals (for instance, the personal pets of soldiers.) Interestingly enough, Army veterinarians are also responsible for food safety inspection. Their trained expertise in public health and animal-to-human transferred diseases made Army Veterinary Corps the natural candidate for handling food safety.
So while we salute our Military Working Dogs for their service, let’s also make sure to thank the brave men and women they serve alongside- and take a moment to appreciate the soldiers who keep these honored dogs healthy and safe, in times of crisis. Army veterinarians, we thank you for your service.