By Amy Guckeen Tolson, USAG Redstone January 8, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Taking care of your pet's health has never been easier or more affordable, thanks to the Veterinary Treatment Facility.
As the VTF begins a new year, customers can look forward to new services and increased appointment availability for their dogs and cats. The facility now has the capability to offer in-house radiology, blood work and surgeries, including spay/neuter, small mass removal and dental care, as well as services it has traditionally offered, including wellness exams and vaccinations.
"It's now a fully functioning clinic as opposed to just a vaccine clinic," said veterinarian Capt. Teri Villers, who serves the facility with Dr. Mary Krothapalli.
In addition to the new services and increased eligibility for those services -- anyone military with an ID card, including Reserve and retirees can use the VTF -- the facility has also expanded its hours to Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to better serve its customers. To schedule an appointment, call 876-2441.
"Our customers are very excited and very grateful," office administrator June Dixon said. "They absolutely love the idea of being able to come onto Redstone and utilize this facility. Because most of them are retirees it's a homey feeling. It feels like home -- they're used to this environment and they like that their pets are being seen by military doctors and employees."
VTF services and fees include:
Wellness screening with a veterinarian: $25
Rabies vaccine: $10
Canine Distemper/Parvo: $15
Heartworm test: $25
Feline leukemia: $18
Feline distemper: $15
FELV/FIV/HW test: $30
Fecal analysis: $15
Deworming Pyrantel Pamoate: $10
The clinic welcomed military veterinarian Villers to its staff in August, an addition that expanded the facility's availability to see more cats and dogs. Growing up in a military family, while life as an Army brat took Villers all over the world, one thing remained constant -- her desire to be a veterinarian.
"At the end of the day when I looked at all the options, I wanted to do what I loved," said Villers, who graduated from Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
For Villers, however, doing what she loved as a veterinarian wasn't enough -- she wanted to do it in uniform.
"I didn't want to be the stationary veterinarian who is in one place, one clinic their whole life," Villers said. "I wanted to see things, do things."
Since joining the staff at Redstone, Villers has assumed care for the Directorate of Emergency Services' military working dogs, who previously had to be taken to Fort Benning, Ga., for veterinary care.
In addition to her responsibilities at the Veterinary Treatment Facility, as a military veterinarian Villers is also responsible for the food mission on post, which includes conducting audits of the commissary and the Express shopping centers, as well as any facility that brings in food served at the commissary.
"It's a very diverse mission, you're never seeing the same thing every day," she said.
The expansion of the clinic's services is not only of benefit to pets and their owners, but VTF staff as well, especially technicians Christine Bew and Katie Parker, who are looking forward to once again working in areas like anesthesia.
"I'm glad to get back using my tech skills," Bew said.
For more information about the Veterinary Treatment Facility, call 876-2441. The VTF is closed weekends, holidays and at noon the last working day of each month.