LANDSTUHL, Germany - Public Health Command Europe recently became the first Army Public Health Command to have its own histology laboratory to provide a unique service in support of Army Veterinary Treatment Facilities. The lab stood up its own histology laboratory, a move which will permit more tailored, timely care to the military working dogs assigned to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The histology laboratory handles a wide range of specimens like cytological preparations, surgical biopsies, and tissue obtained during necropsies. Having its own lab gives Public Health Command Europe the ability to process samples entirely in house and eliminates their dependence on outside organizations.
Chief of Laboratory Sciences and board certified veterinary pathologist, Col. Jeremy Bearss, is proud to operate the only pathology service within the Army public health commands. All other regions send their pathology materials to the Joint Pathology Center in Maryland.
“Having our own histology lab here allows us to have quicker turnaround times and be more responsive to the three major combatant commands that we serve,” explains Bearss.
Bearss is one of a handful of Veterinary Pathologists in the U.S. Army. In his secondary role as a pathologist with Public Health Command Europe, he studies diagnostic tissue samples from military working dogs. He also performs similar analysis of sample from privately owned animals belonging to service members and their families in order to diagnose diseases such as cancer, infections and trauma.
"Veterinary pathology has a critical role in the overall care of military working dogs and pets," says Bearss. “As pathologists we are able to contribute to the care and treatment plans and inform better clinical outcomes."
Veterinarians in the U.S. Army fill several mission critical roles; besides food safety and protection, they take care of military working dogs. It is the Army’s intent to offer the same level of care to the MWDs as is provided to U.S. military personnel. Therefore veterinary care is available at multiple locations throughout theater, whether at deployed locations or on military installations.
According to Military Medicine, there are about 2,500 war and military service dogs in service, with about 700 serving at any given time overseas. Military Working Dogs are critical assets for military police, special operations units, and others operating in today’s combat environment.
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