Marines

Vet clinic busy treating more than 15,000 animals

8 Jul 2011 | Pfc. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

The Tarawa Terrace Veterinary Clinic aboard the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune housing area provides services to domestic pets and military working dogs.

There are about 100 military working dogs and 15,000 privately owned animals that the clinic provides services to. Owners of dogs and cats living in military housing are required to register their pets with the base veterinary office. During a busy week the clinic can see more than 15 military working dogs and about 320 privately owned pets.

Veterinarians, veterinarian technicians and food inspection specialists with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Section of the Mid-Atlantic District Veterinary Command of the North Atlantic Region work together to keep the animals healthy. The clinic does everything from vaccinations to surgeries, and the only thing they cannot provide for animals is prolonged hospitalization.

"Their services are great," said Cpl. John Peeler, a working dog handler with military working dog platoon, Military Police Support Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force. "They stay on top of things and keep our dogs up-to-date. They always keep us informed."

Military working dogs receive semi-annual physicals where veterinarians and veterinary technicians do basic examinations, checking things such as ears, eyes and teeth.

The working dogs also receive an annual physical that is more thorough by including things such as blood and urine tests to complete full diagnostics. When working dogs deploy, a physical examination is required before and after any deployment.

"When it comes to working dogs, they go out there and they serve their country," said Army Sgt. Dawn Torrisi, a veterinary technician with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Section of the Mid-Atlantic District Veterinary Command of the North Atlantic Region. "They fight alongside the human that they work with, and it's our job to make sure that they're mentally and physically fit enough to perform their duties."

The clinic plays an important role in the lives of all the animals they care for. Whether the animal being treated is little, big, nice or mean, the veterinarians at the clinic will help to preserve and protect the lives of animals.

"Pets are family members to most people," said Torrisi. "When a pet is sick it really upsets the families. We're providing a service to (pets) so (families) can have peace of mind."

For more information on the base's veterinary services call 451-7575