Back to Top Skip to main content

Camp Zama veterinary medicine continues during COVID-19

Two veterinary personnel wearing masks examine a dog Army Cpl. Madison Green, and animal care specialist and Capt. (Dr.) Mary McLean, office in charge, both assigned to the Camp Zama Veterinary Treatment Facility examine Roxy, a shepherd mix. (Photo by Winifred Brown, Camp Zama, JAPAN)

Recommended Content:

Veterinary Service | Heroes Behind the Mask

Staff at the Camp Zama Veterinary Treatment Facility in Japan have always worked diligently to gain the trust of their clients, and under recent COVID-19 restrictions, those efforts are paying off.

“I trust them,” said Carolina Chong, shortly after handing over her two dogs’ leashes to Army Cpl. Madison Green, an animal care specialist, so they could go in for their appointments without her.

The facility’s waiting and exam rooms are too small to accommodate proper social distancing under COVID-19 restrictions, so staff members check in pets at the curb and bring them in without their owners, said Army Capt. (Dr.) Mary McLean, veterinarian and officer in charge of the facility.

McLean said she understands why some owners may have reservations about separating from their pets, but the facility’s team does everything possible to make patients feel comfortable.

“We utilize low-stress handling techniques, have a wide variety of special treats to offer, and have been known to just sit on the floor and cuddle with a dog for a few minutes until we gain their trust,” McLean said.

Chong stated how she felt no anxiety letting Layla, an 8-year-old beagle, and Roxy, a 7-year-old shepherd mix, go in without her because they have been visiting the clinic for about a year, and have bonded with staff members.

“Layla absolutely loves it here,” Chong said. “She comes in and she tries to jump out of the car. They’ve just been great. You can tell that the staff really love the pets.”

McLean said the clinic has remained open throughout the pandemic, but for safety reasons, personnel made evolving adjustments to some services based on staff and equipment availability.

“When a majority of our staff was forced to work from home, we began offering telemedicine appointments when appropriate,” McLean said. “Because our patients can’t tell us what’s wrong, veterinarians rely heavily on a physical exam, so veterinary telemedicine may have more limitations than our human counterparts.”

The best way to accommodate physical exams was the curbside check-ins and pet-only visits inside the building, McLean said, and they have worked well.

The clinic is a part of Public Health Activity – Japan, which falls under Public Health Command – Pacific and Regional Health Command – Pacific, McLean said. The clinic’s primary mission is to provide full-service veterinary care to Military Working Dogs across all branches of the Department of Defense.

Usually, however, MWDs are a healthy population, so for the team to keep their veterinary skills sharp, the facility relies on military pet owners to trust them to care for their animals, McLean said.

“The more experience we can gain from treating a variety of ill animals, the better prepared we will be to care for our MWDs if they become sick or injured,” McLean said.

The facility offers a variety of services, including routine preventative care through annual exams and vaccinations, health certificate exams, quarantine exams, laboratory services, surgery, radiology, acupuncture and dental care, McLean said.

Three Soldiers and three civilians staff the facility, McLean said, and two staff members, including herself, are veterinarians. The other, Dr. Isao Yoshikawa, is a Japanese local national.

“Doctor Yoshikawa has been a huge help finding specialists to refer some of our patients to,” McLean said. “Most commonly we make referrals to oncologists for chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or cardiologists for an echocardiogram if a heart abnormality is heard.”

The team also includes military food inspectors who are responsible for ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply by performing inspections of food vendors, such as commissaries, child care centers and dining facilities, McLean said.

Located on Camp Zama, the staff also provides support to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Sagami General Depot, Sagamihara Family Housing Area, and Camp Fuji, McLean explained.

“From the joys of a new puppy to a heartbreaking diagnosis, we have to be ready to help our clients through a variety of emotions,” McLean said. “Every day offers unique challenges, and I love watching the Soldiers and civilian staff work together as team to accomplish our unique mission.”

You also may be interested in...

From Shoulder Pads to Shoulder Boards, Navy MSC Officer leads the way

Article
8/21/2020
Soldier in mask

Fisher’s interest in a career with Navy Medicine is rooted in family.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Army CID forensics team on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/20/2020
Three lab technicians in full PPE looking at computer screen

At the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we (DFSC FXD) understood the severity and global impact the virus would have...

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Navy optometry tech finds path to service at NH Bremerton

Article
8/14/2020
Female soldier wearing a black mask

As part of our ‘I am Navy Medicine’ series, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Cruz Gabriela Gallardo, NMRTC Bremerton's Optometry Clinic and Optical Support Unit leading petty officer is highlighted.

Recommended Content:

Heroes Behind the Mask

New Navy units join in the fight against COVID-19

Article
8/7/2020
Military nurse putting on PPE

This deployment marked the first use of the newly established Acute Care Team and Rapid Rural Response Team medical platforms.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

BAMC nurses: “It’s us against COVID”

Article
8/6/2020
Group of nurses at a hospital

With safety on the line, mistakes aren’t an option when it comes to PPE.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Air Force medical technician drawn to caring for others

Article
7/31/2020
Woman in white chemical suit

"As a medic, my job is to test people for the virus to help make sure they’re safe."

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Determined to Serve: Critical care nurse joins the Reserve at age 50

Article
7/22/2020
Two military healthcare workers wearing masks

The Air Force Reserve does indeed have a critical need for critical care nurses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Army Healthcare Professionals share their call to serve

Article
7/16/2020
Scientist looking at samples in test tubes in a lab.

The Army provides no cost job training with pay and benefits to those who enlist for healthcare specialties.

Recommended Content:

Heroes Behind the Mask

BAMC adapts to support greater San Antonio community during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
7/15/2020
Doctor checking soldier's heartbeat

BAMC is the only Level I Trauma Center within the Department of Defense and one of two within San Antonio.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Defending the Homeland: BACH Civilian earns RHC-A Civilian of the Year

Article
6/26/2020
Soldier and woman standing by two flags, crossed.

[Guidry] will advance to the U.S. Army’s Medical Command (MEDCOM) Civilian of the Year competition later this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support | Heroes Behind the Mask

Defending the Homeland: Secretary of the Army recognizes BACH and 531st COVID-19 support

Article
6/15/2020
Two soldiers in masks elbow bumping

McCarthy took time to recognize several Soldiers and a Department of the Army Civilian for their efforts in the Army’s COVID-19 response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Defending the Homeland: A Determined Descendant and a Navy Hospital's Response to COVID-19

Article
6/9/2020
Image of Navy captain, wearing a mask, standing next to a piece of paper on the wall

Althoff and her team at the Quality Management directorate serve as a locus of coordination for clinical support operations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Defending the Homeland: NHB/NMRTC Bremerton’s PHEO leans in on COVID-19 pandemic

Article
5/20/2020
Three men standing in front of a military medical tent

It’s been long days preparing for the unpredictable, limiting the unforeseen and controlling the unexpected.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Defending the Homeland: BAMC infectious disease doc aids Guam's COVID response

Article
5/14/2020
Image of soldier standing, surrounded by tropical water

The Navy has since undertaken an aggressive mitigation plan of isolating, quarantining, and treating affected Sailors to keep the ship prepared to execute its mission.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Heroes Behind the Mask | Global Health Engagement

US Coast Guard spouse volunteers at Maastricht hospital, saves lives

Article
5/12/2020
Image of nurse with mask

Working at the COVID-19 unit does come at a cost – a personal sacrifice that remains mostly unseen.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask | National Nurses Week
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.