Thursday, September 6, 2012

TOP STORY>>Your healthy pet: Stress and anxiety at the vet

By Staff Sgt. Jessica Condit
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Going to the doctor can sometimes be a difficult task for some, especially if they have an unbearable sense of fear of the doctor. Needles and other instruments the doctor may use can cause anxiety and stress in this type of environment. For pets, the reactions are the same. Whether it is an annual check-up or something more serious, anxiety in pets is no different. Animals feel the stress of the dreaded vet visit as well.

Walking into the vet, Charis, a seven year old 19th Security Forces Squadron military working dog being dispositioned after many years of faithful military service, already feels the stress of the veterinary office. She is one of two dogs retiring soon and is the only female military working dog assigned to the unit. Trained to fear nothing, she tugs at her leash, catching the attention of her handler, Staff Sgt. Anthony Sandoval. He turns around and gives her a command. With anxiety setting in, she has difficulty heeding the command. Coming around though, she lies down and prepares for the worst. As Capt. Courtney Wheeler, a veterinarian from Millington Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tenn., walks into the room, Charis starts feeling the pressure of her surroundings once again.

After several attempts, the veterinarian technician along with Sandoval is finally able to hold Charis long enough to obtain several vials of blood for sampling. Being dispositioned is no easy task for her. She must undergo a series of physical tests and examinations by the vet in order to retire.

After almost an hour of intense pressure and stress, Charis is finally free to leave. Jumping off the table, she happily walks to the door with her handler, tail wagging on the way out.

The base vet takes care of family pets as well. Making sure your animal is healthy is important to a long, happy life. Making sure your pet is spayed or neutered as well will help the well-being of your furry family member and the pet population as a whole.

“We highly recommend others spay and neuter, the sooner the better. An owner can spay or neuter their pet by five to six months of age” said Kelley Perry, an animal health technician.

Because of the high mosquito population in this area, Dr. Arnetha Brooks, DVM, also suggests a heartworm preventative, available at the base veterinary clinic, for pets. The supplies at the vet office on base are often cheaper than off base clinics, encouraging good pet owner habits.

The base veterinary clinic offers services from annual check-ups to intense surgeries. Scheduling an appointment for surgery is as simple as calling and speaking to the desk technician. Check-ups are made by appointment, and are scheduled for three days a week. Walk-ins for pet medication are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 - 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call the veterinary office at 987-7249.

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