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JBLM Veterinary Treatment Facility ready for Fluffy & Fido

New program means more doctors, increased appointment availability

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There are a few things you might not know about the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Veterinary Treatment Facility (VTF)... starting with its existence.

The VTF, which is tucked away on McChord Field, is there to serve the four-legged furry kids of all active duty Servicemembers and retirees. Services include routine vaccinations, dental work, spaying and neutering surgical care and preventative care. In addition to seeing privately owned animals, the VTF also cares for military working dogs, parade horses and occasionally working animals from other government organizations, like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

In the past, the VTF's availability has been restricted due to a lack of veterinarians and technicians, which made it difficult for pets to receive all of their care there without requiring supplemental care at civilian providers. However, the introduction of a new training program this fall, First-Year Graduate Veterinary Education (FYGVE), is changing things.

Maj. Jodi Nicklas, who serves as the lead FYGVE instructor, is beyond proud of what this means for her office, especially since the JBLM VTF was one of the first locations chosen by the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.

"With the advent of the FYGVE training program, the VTF has incorporated more specialized services into the clinic. In order to provide the new graduates with a diversity of medical cases, we've opened the schedule to more complex sick call exams requiring more extensive diagnostic and surgical care," said Nicklas. "We want to be there for the community and this is making it possible."

Bottom line, the JBLM VTF now has the ability to offer more appointments, with a wait time of typically less than a week.  

"Right now we are limited by space, not by staff," explained Nicklas. "However, we are getting ready to expand the building and hope that will be done by the end of 2012."

The JBLM VTF, located in Bldg 768 on Warehouse Rd., is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday; it is closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. every day. For an appointment, call (253) 982-3951.


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