Vet Corps celebrates 96 years with Army
Story by: Katherine Rosario
IACH Public Affairs
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps celebrated 96 years of service to the Army and the nation June 3, and Fort Riley veterinarians have continued the long tradition of taking care of man's best friend in the same building for more than 90 years.
The Veterinary Clinic, built in 1917, is the only Fort Riley building still used for its original purpose. The clinic was in use providing medical care for the horses at Fort Riley before the Veterinary Corps was formally established by an Act of Congress in 1916.
Fort Riley's veterinarians continue to provide services to the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard horses and mules, military working dogs and Soldiers' animals. The clinic also is responsible for the health of Soldiers and Families by ensuring a safe, protected food supply.
The main purpose of the clinic is to provide preventative care to pets of Department of Defense cardholders, including preventing the spread of diseases in the pet population that could affect humans, said Capt. Amanda Gerboth, veterinarian at the clinic.
"We schedule appointments for vaccinations, routine care and diagnostics, and minor sick call," she said. "We are a great source of information for Soldiers moving overseas with pets."
The vet clinic does minor surgeries, including mass removals, hernia repairs, neuters and spays, but does not provide emergency treatment to privately owned animals.
"The numbers vary from month to month, but we anticipate completing more than 100 surgeries this year," Gerboth said.
The clinics largest patients are the CGMCG's 28 horses and two mules.
"Equines receive any and all treatment that we are capable of providing, including routine vaccines and dental work," she said. "We are also available for sick call, emergencies, minor surgeries and consultations regarding their care."
The clinic also treats MWDs and provides them with semiannual physicals, dental services, vaccinations, health certificates, sick call and elective and emergency surgery.
"We have even used IACH's MRI and CT machines when the (MWDs) need imaging studies," she said.
Veterinarians deploy for nine to 12 months in support of missions around the world, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as third-world countries, to provide humanitarian aid.
"We have done a lot of humanitarian aid in foreign countries, such as helping locals improve livestock and hosting vaccination campaigns," she said.
The veterinarians also conduct overseas food inspections and care for working animals.
Although veterinarians are not often thought of as food inspectors, the two go hand-in-hand when it comes to curtailing disease among livestock and other domestic animals to enhance the health of the nation.
"We aid in and enforce recalls on food products, ensure that foods are maintained in conditions that inhibit bacterial growth (proper temperature, preparation methods), educate food service workers and Soldiers on measures to prevent the spread of illness and provide advice to deployed units on what local foods are lower risk or higher risk for food-borne illness," Gerboth said.
The veterinary clinic also has a stray facility attached the back of the building, where animals are available for adoption. The stray facility is open from noon to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Adoption includes all vaccinations, a microchip and a month's worth of heartworm and flea and tick prevention.
If the dog or cat is not spayed or neutered at the facility, the fee to adopt is $82 and $62, respectively. If the animal is spayed or neutered by the facility before it is adopted, the fee to adopt a male cat is $92; female cat, $142; male dog, $142, and female dog, $162.
The vet clinic sees patients from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Veterinary appointments are $25, and a technician appointment is $10. To have a male dog or cat neutered, the cost is $100 and $60, respectively. To have a female dog or cat spayed, the cost is $110 to $115 and $110, respectively.
Per post regulation, all pets at Fort Riley must be registered with the veterinary clinic, be up-to-date on vaccines and microchipped within 10 days of arriving at Fort Riley. It does not cost anything to register a pet; owners would just need to bring their pet's records with them.