Veterinary team brings TLC to pets
Veterinary technician Linda Smith gives a thorough checkup to her K-9 friend. The vet clinic offers services for pets of military members and military working dogs. (Air Force photo/Christopher Kratzer)
Veterinary team brings TLC to pets



by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs


4/8/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Maxwell Veterinary Treatment Facility provides preventative veterinary care to military working dogs and privately owned animals. Army Staff Sgt. Julie Hicks, the veterinary treatment facility non-commissioned officer in charge, and her team work hard to serve the base community by providing excellent service and expert care.

No stranger to the medical profession, Sergeant Hicks started her career as an Army medic, but she has been practicing veterinary medicine for the last 12 years.

"I was a medic," Sergeant Hicks said. "Basically, I do the same thing but on a different species."

Diagnostic veterinary medicine can be a unique challenge since all the technicians at the clinic are expected to be able to perform a wide range of duties.

"We actually do more than human medicine because we don't have specialties like X ray, surgery or lab technician. We are all of that," Sergeant Hicks said. "We are jacks-of all-trades."

Sergeant Hicks said the role of technician is just one of the many hats she wears day-to day.

"I'm not just a vet tech. I'm also the facility manager, the budget analyst, the operations manager, and I'm the hiring manager," she said.

No matter what role is needed, Sergeant Hicks and her team are ready to handle it.

Even though each day brings unique challenges in dealing with the animal kingdom, the team truly enjoys what they do. Linda Smith, a veterinary tech, said each day brings something new.

"I love interacting with the animals and seeing how owners interact with their pets," she said.

According to Ms. Smith, there are challenges, but a good team helps everything fall into place.

"The most rewarding part of the job isn't overcoming those challenges, though; it's serving the men and women of the armed forces," according to Sergeant Smith.

"As a soldier (serving in this capacity), it means a lot," Sergeant Hicks said. "Whether it's Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, we're all just one big family. I enjoy taking care of our family."

The clinic offers a wide variety of services, including routine vaccinations, tests for internal and external parasites, a full line of flea products, heartworm testing and preventatives, health certificates and treatment of diseases that may be transmitted from animals to humans.