By Anna MorelockMarch 26, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany - The Wiesbaden Veterinary Treatment Facility has three main missions, the most visible to the community being the care of its pets.
Whether they've traveled overseas, or been adopted locally, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's cats and dogs need to ensure their owners register them with the VTF upon arrival. While they are welcome to, pets don't even need to stop in to the VTF, but simply need to send their vaccination records along with their owners to complete the registration process.
The registration process with the VTF may be simple, but owners should still remember that moving is not only stressful on them, but also on their pets.
"It's always important to keep a close eye on our pets while traveling and transitioning to a new environment to make sure they are acclimating well," said Capt. Kathleen Stewart, veterinarian and officer in charge of the Wiesbaden VTF.
Stewart recommended keeping pets' routines as consistent as possible. Make sure they are getting attention, the same number of walks and the same food, and have a blanket that smells like home or a favorite toy, she said.
After they are registered, pets can be seen at the VTF for routine wellness appointments, vaccines and preventive medications, and minor sick call appointments. For more serious issues that require major diagnostics, overnight hospitalization or surgery, pet owners should be prepared to take their pets to a German veterinarian.
Owners with pets on special medications and diets should talk with the VTF staff about the best way to fulfill their pets' needs. The VTF can import certain medications and food, but it may be necessary to purchase these items on the German economy.
"We share (the owners') love for four-legged critters, and we strive to provide the best service for everyone and their pets," Stewart said. "We want to make visits to the VTF as happy and low stress as possible."
When traveling with their owners throughout the European Union, it is important for pets to have an EU pet passport, which can be obtained from a German veterinarian. After its initial issuance, the Wiesbaden VTF staff can update the passport with any additional vaccines. And, while the pet passport facilitates travel within the EU, owners need to check the websites of the countries they are visiting in case there are extra requirements instead of, or on top of, the passport.
When pets are ready to leave Germany for their next duty stations, it's important for the owners to research pet importation requirements for their new home and engage with the VTF early to ensure everyone is ready to move.
The VTF can set up pre-travel appointments to make sure pets' vaccines are up to date before the required timeline is in motion for the health certificate. Most stateside destinations require the health certificate to be signed within 10 days of the pets' arrival. The VTF can also help owners with any extra veterinary requirements from airlines or pet transportation companies.
The Wiesbaden veterinarians can write health certificates back to the United States, U.S. territories and Japan. For other destinations, owners should consult the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and talk to VTF staff on the best way to complete requirements. Other destinations may require a visit to a German veterinarian, so it is important to plan early.
When not tending to the community's pets, VTF staff are fulfilling their other missions. The same services they provide to pets also are provided for the military working dogs who call U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden home. And, VTF staff also protect the garrisons' Families by performing food safety and public health inspections on the installation.
"We inspect on-post facilities that serve or sell food to our community members," Stewart said. "It's a very important part of keeping our service members and their Families safe and healthy. Food-borne illnesses can be spread from various sources; we do our best to prevent that from affecting our community."
Visit the Wiesbaden VTF in Building 1038 on Clay Kaserne
Hours: 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
8 a.m. to noon, Thursday
Traveling with pets: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel