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Vet clinic provides new services
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Dr. Darrin Olson, base veterinarian, and Mike Bridges, veterinarian technician, performs a physical on Kenai at the clinic August 10. (U.S. photo by Senior Airman La’Shanette Garrett)
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Vet clinic provides new services

Posted 8/13/2009   Updated 8/13/2009 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman La'Shanette V. Garrett
2d Bomb Wing Public Affairs

8/13/2009 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- The Barksdale Veterinary Clinic recently underwent some major changes, allowing them to better serve the Barksdale community. 

The clinic, run by U.S. Army standards, policies and standard operational procedures, is now civilianized, which allows the clinic to have a full-time veterinarian doctor on duty five days a week. 

Although their primary duty is to care for military working dogs, they also offer preventive medicine services to privately-owned animals of servicemembers and retirees. 

"I receive excellent service at the clinic and highly recommend it to everyone," said Tech. Sgt. John Cook, 2d Civil Engineer Squadron. "I also think the services provided at the clinic are equal, to if not better than, the services downtown." Sgt. Cook's dog Kenai was recently spayed at the clinic. 

Customers can be accommodated with routine vaccinations, heartworm testing and preventive products for fleas, ticks and heartworms. The clinic is also equipped to perform some major surgeries, including spay and neutering, and removal of brain tumors. 

As part of being competitive with downtown vet clinics, the clinic is now able to anesthetize patients for surgery. 

"I consider every time I put a patient under anesthesia to be a major surgery," said Dr. Darrin Olson, Veterinarian for the Department of the Army. "There is always a risk of an anesthetic compromise, where the patient doesn't make it. So being able to wake them up and make them feel better is a big accomplishment." 

Dr. Olson also notes that some precautionary procedures that can be taken to keep pets healthy like keeping them on a monthly preventive medication for fleas, ticks and heartworms as well as a healthy diet. 

Ensuring pets eat a healthy diet is important, due to the fact being overweight causes health problems such as diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure. 

Also important is vaccinating pets early and regularly. 

First vaccinations for pets should be given around six or seven weeks of age, then given a series of booster shots until 12-to-14-weeks old. 

"The importance of getting pets vaccinated is due to the fact that these diseases are out there in the environment and they are not going away," said Dr. Olson. "No matter how well maintained or clean your yard is parvovirus, distemper and rabies, is still going to be out there and out of control." 

"We urge that customers use us first, but we also recommend that people also get associated with a vet downtown," said Michael Bridges, veterinarian technician. "Unfortunately, we do not do emergencies on the weekend. And there are a lot of surgeries, medications and diagnostics that we can't provide." 

The clinic operates on an appointment only basis, unless there is an emergency. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment please call 456-4923 or 456-4172. The clinic hours are 9 a.m. until noon and 1:30-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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