When you think of the United States Army, you don’t normally think of animal medical personnel. But in the Army are dedicated individuals whose responsibilities include the care and support of animals. There are government owned sled dogs, sea mammals, ceremonial and dress animals such as horses, and patrol dogs, and they all need care, feeding and proper support. Only by being tended and their needs met can these animals keep working as hard as they do for the Army.
A Medical Animal Care specialist can perform quite a variety of duties. They are directly responsible for caring for government animals, help the Veterinary staff at animal clinics, hospitals and animal care units both stateside, overseas, and around the world. They are involved in the treatment, management, care, and overseeing the sanitary needs of Army Animals. They are supervised by the Army Veterinary staff, and work closely with other animal support and animal veterinary Army Staff.
Animal Medical Care specialists in the Army calculate and administer medication, assist in surgery on animals, and keep records about animal care and treatment. They interview and take animal histories from handlers and animal owners, and perform initial wellness checks and physical exams under the supervision of Veterinary staff. They are responsible for monitoring and recording animal vital signs, and taking note of any abnormal readings or signs that they discover when dealing with animals.
The Animal Care Specialist performs many basic veterinary type care operations. They clean and disinfect wounds, and even can at times suture some wounds when directed by an Army Animal Veterinary staff member. The Army Animal Medical care worker collects and prepares animal skin scrapings, feces, urine and blood for a variety of routine and ordered tests. In some cases Animal Care specialists assist in post death autopsies to try to find cause of death.
Candidates wishing to work as an Animal Care Specialist for the Army must have normal color vision, be able to lift moderately heavy items, be a successful high school or GED graduate, and have taken and passed high school or college biology. There are other requirements but these are the main ones. Following Basic training, advanced individual training takes place. A trainee will have between seven and fifty two weeks of Advanced training, both in the classroom and in the field. Servicemembers who are trained as an Animal Care Specialist for the Army receive skills that directly translate to civilian jobs in the Animal and veterinary world.