DVIDS – News – BJACH Celebrates US Army Veterinary Corps Contributions, Anniversary


FORT POLK, La. – Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital celebrates the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps for 106 years of supporting the nation and their dedication to the health and well-being of soldiers, families, and pets living and work at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Captain Aaron Judson, MD at JRTC and Fort Polk Veterinary Clinic, is Chief Veterinary Officer for the Louisiana branch.

Judson said Army vets can be found at every military installation around the world.

“I became a veterinarian because I’ve always been interested in health, and it allows me to do a lot of things without specializing in one area,” he said. “Being a veterinarian gives me a lot of freedom. For example, in our clinic we can do everything from internal medicine to surgery, dentistry or radiology. We have the ability to expand our services and help anyone who walks through the door.

Judson said the US Army Veterinary Corps is made up of officers and warrant officers within the US veterinary services. In Louisiana, his team serves the JRTC and Fort Polk, Camp Beauregard, Barksdale Air Force Base, Naval Station Belle Chase as well as the Louisiana National Guard and Reserve units throughout the state.

“Working at the Fort Polk Veterinary Clinic is only a small part of our jobs. Caring for military pets is a way for us to support the warfighter and a readiness platform for us,” he said. “As veterinary corps officers, we must maintain our clinical skills in order to provide care to military working dogs. By performing routine checkups, administering vaccinations, and performing minor or emergency pet surgeries, we are able to maintain our skills in the event that we are called upon to deploy.

Judson said there are four pillars of the veterinary profession.

“The first pillar is animal health for our work animals; working dogs, working equines and aquatic animals,” he said. “There are actually goats at Fort Polk that we have to take care of as well. These animals enhance the atmosphere of the village and create realism in the scenarios of our Rotating Brigade Combat Teams training at the Joint Readiness Training Center. We treat goats the same as government owned animals with general husbandry care. We work with the farm manager to keep them updated on vaccinations, resolve health issues and ensure they are well taken care of.

Judson said the majority of military working animals are dogs, followed by horses, then sea animals.

According to the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, bottlenose dolphins and sea lions in California are trained and used to locate and retrieve objects in ports, coastal areas and on the high seas. Dolphins and sea lions are used to assist security personnel in detecting and apprehending unauthorized swimmers and divers who may attempt to harm Navy personnel, vessels or port facilities.
Judson said the marine mammal program has been around for several decades and is a unique opportunity for US Army Veterinary Corps officers.

“The second pillar is food protection,” he said. “Everyone needs to eat, so this is the part of our job that touches the most people. We ensure that everything that comes onto the facility is healthy, safe to eat and free from contamination. »

Judson said everything at the commissioner was inspected at source by a veterinary corps officer.

“We are responsible for inspecting food from farm to fridge,” he said. “The Department of Public Health, the environmental health people are doing refrigerator to fork inspections.”

Judson said veterinary public health is the body’s third pillar.

“It’s everything from our rabies bite reporting program to zoonotic diseases such as skin infections, parasites or viruses,” he said. “We advise and assist the garrison on each military installation, as well as in a deployed environment. »

Judson said if someone is bitten by an animal they should go to the hospital, not the veterinary clinic and the hospital will work with their team who will provide more information on animal-borne illnesses for ensure appropriate treatment of the patient.

“Our fourth pillar of the veterinary service is research and development,” he said. “The Department of Defense Food Analysis and Diagnostics Laboratory is where we send all samples that need to be tested.”

According to their website, the FADL’s mission is to provide force health protection through innovative, adaptive, rapid, and accurate testing of all food, water, and diagnostic submissions for the DoD. The laboratory consists of four test sections and two administrative departments.

Judson said FADL handles all food and animal samples worldwide to support the DoD.

“FADL is a diagnostic laboratory at Joint Base Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. They do all the rabies testing, food testing; different bacteriological, serological, viral and blood tests,” he said. “For example, soldiers who PCS overseas need a health certificate for their pet. Some overseas locations require a Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) test (or a live virus test that determines if the animal has adequate levels of rabies antibodies after vaccination); these are done at the FADL.

Judson said they are a very small body with a big impact.

“We couldn’t do what we do without all of the veterinary services, including our enlisted soldiers, our vet techs, and our civilian teammates,” he said. “We have a unique job; we provide a unique service to the Ministry of Defense as the military is the only branch with a veterinary corps.

Date taken: 06.02.2022
Date posted: 06.02.2022 20:04
Story ID: 422077
Location: FORT POLK, LA, USA

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