TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Tinker’s Veterinary Treatment Facility has been expanded, renovated and is fully functional—made official in a ribbon cutting ceremony July 17. After a significant increase in Military Working Dogs and the population of authorized patrons, the demand for a larger staff and facility became too strong to ignore.
The newly opened vet clinic, a joint partnership between the Air Force and the Army, has extended its capabilities to include anesthetic procedures, both surgery and dental, as well as placing catheters and monitors, all providing crucial support to the mission. With an increase in accessibility, the veterinary treatment facility consistently ranks in the top worldwide, serving 4,700 patients including dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and birds.
Primarily, the Veterinary Clinic provides medical care for the Military Working Dogs and other Department of Defense animals, Food Inspection Services and preventative medicine. Other services pertain to privately owned pets of service members and their families, with routine medical care, limited surgical services and treatment for animal-related services.
Air Force Sustainment Center Commander, Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, recognized the importance of the partnership between the military teammates in attendance – the Army, Navy and the “multispecies” representatives, the Military Working Dogs.
“We recruit service members, but we retain families,” the general said. “Their quality of life extends to their pets and having the necessary – the best possible – resources to sustain that care is important. We have a world-class, top-notch team and we finally have a facility that matches that. It takes leadership, dedication and talent, and I commend everyone who had a hand in making this a reality.”
Representing the Army’s role in the mix was commander of Public Health Activity at Fort Hood, Lt. Col. Sydney Cobb. He spoke of the significance and magnitude of the conglomerates and joint efforts behind the new treatment facility.
“Culminating the ribbon cutting ceremony represents an enduring partnership between the Air Force Sustainment Center and the Army Medical Department and veterinary facility,” the colonel expressed, “as well as the partnership with the Air Base Wing, Medical Group, Security Forces Squadron and the Tinker Air Force Base community.”
The partnership dates back to the existence of the U.S. Air Forces Veterinary Corps, until the Army established their veterinary mission on the installation. The original treatment facility was set up in a mobile home where the current Base Exchange is located.
In 1999, the Army Veterinary Command teamed up with the 72nd Medical Group and the 72nd Force Support Squadron to build a new and improved facility that offered greater capabilities. Though there was an increase in treatment, there was significant limitation in who was provided care. Accessibility didn’t fully expand until the mid-2000s, when the clinic began authorizing the practice of radiographs and surgical services. Shortly thereafter, when the demand for privately owned animal care became so robust due to deployments and frequent activation, the veterinary services became available to Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, retirees and dependents.
For questions or more information about the Veterinary Treatment Facility contact 734-5780.