GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria understands how important your pet is to you. The on-post Veterinary Treatment Facilities offer various types of routine care and services for the pets of military families when possible.
The primary mission of the Vilseck and Hohenfels Veterinary Treatment Facilities is that of food inspection, not civilian pet care.
“Veterinary food inspectors and your veterinarian work daily to ensure you have a safe food supply on the Garrison. The veterinarian is also responsible for caring for the military working dogs that protect our safety,” said Capt. Caitlin P. Sullivan, Bavaria Branch Chief, Veterinary Services.
For many people, our pets are our best friends and our constant companions. So whether stateside or here in Europe, care for our pets is vital.
“When able, the veterinary staff also takes pleasure in taking care of military family pets,” Sullivan said.
But first as pet lovers and owners, some responsibilities must be met. Once you arrive, your pet must be registered with the Veterinary Treatment Facility.
“All families should note that it is required to register pets with the on-post clinic regardless of whether or not they receive veterinary care on post,” said Sullivan.
The Bavaria VTFs, located in Bldg. 222 on Rose Barracks and Bldg. 746 on Hohenfels, do not offer walk-in services at this time. Appointments must be scheduled over the phone or in person. Schedules are available two weeks before the start of the next month.
It is necessary to present a DOD ID or privilege card (DD Form 1137) to have access to on-post veterinary services, because eligibility for veterinary care is based on the owner’s eligibility to receive medical care.
When on-post treatment is unavailable, families can have their animal seen at a host nation veterinary clinic.
While not all-encompassing, a brief list of host nation veterinary clinics and other information is available at the clinic, to include a selection of boarding facilities, pet stores and dog groomers.
Here in Bavaria, pet owners can discover several clinics in the local area, including 24-hour emergency facilities, specialty hospitals where pets can obtain advanced diagnostic and surgical care, and some highly-rated general practice veterinary clinics.
Many German veterinarians speak English, so there is no need to worry about a language barrier disrupting a pet’s medical care, and some also accept the Value Added Tax form.
If leaving USAG Bavaria soon, pet owners are required to clear pets through the VTF prior to PCS travel. Owners need to bring documents, such as health certificates, administrative paperwork, and ownership transfer or deceased animal letters, to the clinic.
“Travel costs for animals can range from $200 up to $3000 depending on the situation, so that needs to be taken into account similarly to medical supplies, vaccinations and potential emergency expenses,” said Capt. Anna Schultz, officer in charge, Vilseck.
Many times the lack of being informed leads to unintended results.
“We occasionally have tragic situations where Soldiers abandon their pets because they do not prepare adequately for their PCS or cannot afford their medical care. Not only can these Soldiers face criminal charges, but this has resulted in death of the abandoned animals and/or injury to other animals and people,” said Schultz.
For owners who are unable to provide evidence as to the origin of the pet, a letter from the commander will be required to clear the facility.
“One great resource is the USDA APHIS website for pet travel, where timelines and requirements are listed with state and country specific information. An example of helpful information is the timeline for transporting pets and specific requirements for entry,” said Schultz.
Attention to detail must be practiced when transporting your pets Outside Continental United States as special steps are needed.
“If you plan to PCS to Hawaii, previous rabies vaccinations based on an animal’s age are required, and a rabies blood titer is done five months in advance to avoid quarantine. Countries like Japan and Korea have similar requirements,” said Schultz.
If you receive your pet’s health certificate from the Vilseck VTF, you can be cleared at the time of that appointment.
“Any Soldier wanting to travel with their furry family members should be diligent in researching their destination’s specific requirements,” said Schultz.
Be proactive, do your homework, determine your family’s needs and lower the frustration level for all.
“The Vilseck Veterinary Treatment Facility can provide additional information and resources as needed. There is also a new veterinarian in town so they will have increased access to care for military family pets,” said Schultz.
For more information or questions, contact your local Veterinary Treatment Facility: Rose Barracks DSN 476-2370, CIV 09662-83-2370; Hohenfels DSN 466-4560, CIV 09472-83-4560.
“The VTF also has a Facebook page with current information about the clinic schedule. These are some of our most pressing issues,” said Schultz.