“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself,” said 1800s humorist Josh Billings. Although nearly 200 years old now, most would agree that the statement remains sound to this day. People love their pets. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, ferrets, fish, lizards and much more will until the end of time hold a special place in the hearts of their owners. Because the love for pets is real, MAFB makes sure there is a solid place where animals can get any medical help they need and also a place where their owners can get the much needed assistance for PCSing overseas at the on-base Veterinary Clinic.
The Minot AFB Vet Clinic offers a wide range of services for base pets, including routine check-ups, wellness vaccines, some radiology, some minor surgeries, and small dental procedures. When asked, U.S. Army Vet Tech, SSG Sally Dolence said they take all pets and situations on a pet-by-pet basis. They don’t have a specific list of things they do and do not do or have a specific list of types of pets they can and cannot see; instead, she asks base residents to simply give them a call about their individual pet situation and they are happy to advise on what can be done. Dolence made it clear that the base vet clinic does not offer major surgeries, overnight stays or emergency after hours care, but they can see a pet, offer stabilizing medication and then refer to another local vet who may specialize in a certain situation.
The Vet Clinic, although a military medical facility and a part of the 5th Medical Group, is not a free service to military members and their pets. Fees and payments are expected at the time of service; however, most fees are comparable or less than off base providers. The clinic is operated by a small staff of active duty and civilian personnel. Interestingly, SSG Dolence, who is in the US Army, conveyed that all military veterinary services and clinics are operated by the Army. So even though this is on an Air Force installation, the US Army staffs it, which is why she is stationed here. Also on shift on the day of interview was Vet Tech Jennifer Webb and Civilian Dr. Kristen Entendencia. U.S. Army Captain Amber Norton is the standing officer-in-charge of the Vet Clinic, but was unavailable on the day of interview.
Dolence, Webb and Entendencia all stressed that one of the main ways the base Vet Clinic is helpful to military members is because of their vast knowledge of the difficulty of PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) with pets in tow, particularly to overseas locations. They all encouraged residents to give them a call as soon as they have an assignment or even a possibility of moving overseas, as the processes can be time consuming, confusing and complicated. They follow all regulations from the website https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel and suggest people to take a look at the website for complete information about moving with their pets to other countries.
Some things pets might need when PCSing is a working microchip, updated rabies vaccines, health certificates, Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) test, or a number of other things as every country is different. Besides the number of things to complete in order to move overseas, a lot of countries require these steps to be taken months in advance or entrance to the country can be denied. So it is important to get an appointment at the base Vet Clinic as soon as possible even if an overseas assignment is possible. Dr. Entendencia mentioned that in her experience the most extensive and complicated process for pets are PCS moves to Japan, Guam and Hawaii.
Whether your furry friend is feeling under the weather or you need some help preparing for a stressful move, the MAFB Vet Clinic is here to help. Give them a call and leave a message for them today. (701) 723-6449.