New vet clinic opens at Spang

Staff Sgt. Robert Prim, 52nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and his male working dog, Judy, attended the opening of Spangdahlem’s new veterinarian clinic April 27. Photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Clark.

Staff Sgt. Robert Prim, 52nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and his male working dog, Judy, attended the opening of Spangdahlem’s new veterinarian clinic April 27. Photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Clark.

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- The Spangdahlem Veterinary Clinic held its grand opening April 27. The grand opening was commemorated by a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house at its new home in building 559. 

"Moving the veterinary clinic to the base will offer Sabers better availability to our services," said Capt. Stephanie Fonseca, 64th Medical Detachment veterinary services OIC. "We will be more conveniently located for our clients. We're also closer to the military working dog kennel. Attending to the working dogs and ensuring they are medically deployable is a primary mission for Army Veterinary Services. This mission supports force protection both for the local installation and community, but also serves as a vital force multiplier in combat theaters." 

The veterinary services mission encompasses a broad spectrum from animal care to things not typically associated with veterinarians. 

The primary mission of veterinary services is to care for military working dogs, but they will also accommodate household pets on a time-available basis. The clinic provides vaccinations, wellness exams, micro-chipping, heartworm testing, FELV/FIV testing, sick call appointments, health certificates, rabies titer testing, and routine general surgeries such as, neuters, spays, lump removals, and dental cleanings for household pets. Pets are seen by appointment only, but the clinic is open from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. No emergency services are offered for pets at any time. 

Veterinary services is integrating Army missions into an Air Force environment, but Captain Fonseca explains they are the same as any deployable unit. 

"The Spangdahlem Veterinary Treatment Facility is part of the 64th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services), headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany. This is a deployable unit with the same training requirements to ensure a continuous status of deployability to any combat theater," Captain Fonseca said about the detachment. "We qualify at firing ranges, conduct Soldier Readiness Processing to ensure personal and medical readiness, and participate in preparatory and certifying field exercises. In the deployed state, we offer working dog medicine and surgery, as well as food inspection and safety." 

Captain Fonseca talks about the more unusual aspects of the mission. 

"A very unrecognized mission that affects every person who shops at the BX or the commissary is the food mission. The veterinary corps officer, such as myself, is tasked to inspect commercial food production facilities to ensure their compliance to food safety and security. These facilities are listed as approved sources from which the government may procure food. I am responsible for several different plants, including water bottling plants, bakeries, and meat processing plants in both Germany and France." 

The Veterinary services mission will have a large impact on the Saber community. 

"The new veterinary clinic has a huge impact in three ways," said Colonel Jay Neubauer, 52nd Medical Group commander. "First, it highlights an ongoing significant cooperation between the Air Force and the Army in providing this vital service. Second, it moves this very valuable service close to the primary customer, our working dogs. Thirdly, it is a first class facility for all our pet owners through the Eifel region."