FORT STEWART, Ga. — The Fort Stewart Veterinary Treatment Facility has been taking precautionary measures to deter the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to provide veterinary services to the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield community.
The Veterinary Corps is responsible for the care of government-owned animals and provides limited care for beneficiaries in the military community who own animals and pets. They also provide surgical care, food safety, and defense, along with biomedical research and development.
Since Fort Stewart was put under Health Protection Condition Charlie, which indicates there is a substantial risk for sustained community transmission of the COVID-19 disease, many different facilities, like the veterinary clinic, have changed the way they operate.
“We are prioritizing privately owned animals that have more urgent conditions, as well as timely wellness visits like new puppies that need vaccines and health certificates,” said Capt. Adrienne Greenwood, the Fort Stewart veterinary branch chief. “We also continue to have sick call for animals and will work those appointments into our work schedule.”
Greenwood said one of the biggest changes at her clinic is that clients cannot come into the building with their animals. They must schedule an appointment and call the clinic to review the animal’s history over the phone. From there, on the day of the appointment, a technician will go outside and pick up the animal from the owner and bring them inside for services. Owners must wait in their cars while the animal is being inspected. Then, one of the doctors will call the client and review treatment procedures and schedule follow-up appointments as needed.
Although there have been no confirmed cases on domestic animals at Fort Stewart, Greenwood advises people wash their hands after touching animals and avoid touching someone else’s pets or strays. She said even though the animal itself may not have the virus, they could be a carrier and possibly spread it.
Robin Jones, a retired Soldier and current veterinarian who works at the clinic, examines privately owned animals needing treatment.
“It feels good knowing that in these trying times, we are making pets and their owners feel better by bringing them relief and helping them with their health,” Jones said.
Jones said she was a veterinarian while serving in the Army more than 20 years ago, and the mission has remained the same ever since. Even though there are a few limitations with how animals are seeking treatment during the pandemic, her mission and end goals remain the same, to diagnose and treat as many animals as possible.
Although people are not allowed into the clinic, they are more than welcome to adopt pets at this time, Greenwood said.
For information, visit the Fort Stewart Pets Facebook page at facebook.com/FortStewartPets or visit the Fort Stewart Vet Clinic at 461 West Bultman, Building 1180, or contact them at 435-7387.