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Helping our four-legged family members

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

People spend a lot of time finding the best care and best doctors for their family and loved ones, so why should finding care for the furry family members be any different? F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, has an Army Veterinary Treatment Facility staffed with Army Veterinary Corps personnel to ensure every pet gets the best treatment possible. 

Army Sgt 1st Class Jikson Muñoz, Army Animal Care Specialist, graduated from Veterinary school in Columbia and has since been working in the vet industry for close to 30 years. Muñoz is the primary care provider for animals, in addition to new vet tech Kendall Vanderleest and new veterinarian Morgan Hennessey.

“Taking care of animals is one of the best feelings you can have,” said Munoz. “When you take care of animals that are in need or are suffering, and we can do something for them, it makes me feel very grateful.” 

The VTFs primary mission here is to provide complete veterinary care to the Security Forces Squadron’s military working dogs and other government-owned animals. The MWDs need to have a full physical exam every six months, and yearly they must have physical exams that include blood work and laboratory testing. The VTF ensures these dogs are in top physical condition and ready to support the mission. 

In addition to seeing MWDs, the clinic also strives to provide care to family-owned cats and dogs, through wellness-based preventive medicine. The family-owned pets the clinic sees are pets of current service members, dependents, retirees and 100% disabled veterans with proper identification. Proper ID includes DoD common access card, DD forms 2, 1173, 1173-1 and 2765. 

The VTF has the potential to help thousands of animals right here on base. 

“We have great potential here,” said Muñoz. “We can help over 10,000 people, including service members, retirees and veterans, especially since we just hired a new veterinarian.” 

In July, Hennessey, civilian veterinarian, began working at the VTF to provide more extensive care to animals that need the clinic's help. Hennessey sees animals and provides care two and a half days a week.  

While Hennessey is only in the clinic part of the week, the clinic sees animals four days a week, by appointment only, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. These appointments can be for services such as wellness exams, minor sick call exams, obtaining health certificates, laboratory testing, prescription medications and microchip identification. They also provide vaccinations like rabies, distemper, kennel cough and more. 

“I love doing my job because of the satisfaction I feel when I am able to serve this community,” said Muñoz. “Helping the community means not just focusing on the people, but the animals as well, because they are considered family as well.”