Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Camp Zama veterinary medicine continues during COVID-19

Image of Two veterinary personnel wearing masks examine a dog. Click to open a larger version of the image. 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 | Coronavirus

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...

COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit

Publication
1/5/2021

These messages are provided for you to use on your platforms with any of the images from the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD COVID 19 Vaccine Distribution Plan and Population Schema

Publication
12/10/2020

Regarding the initial COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Defense Department officials announced a phased and coordinated strategic plan for distributing and administering the initial COVID-19 vaccines.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Holiday Season Guidance to Minimize Spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
11/16/2020

This memorandum provides guidance to help protect individuals within the DoD community from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for gatherings and activities during the November to January holiday season.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Updated Guidance for Performing Temperature Checks at Military MTFs and DTFs

Publication
10/21/2020

This guidance is an update to Defense Health Agency Return to Full Operations Concept of Operations, V5.0 (June 12, 2020) as it pertains to temperature checks in MTFs and DTFs. Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), previous guidance directed MTFs to take the temperature of all individuals entering the facility. Effective immediately, temperature checks are not required; however, screening of individuals entering MTFs and DTFs and healthcare personnel on duty in the MTF or DTF is to continue.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12) -Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
8/6/2020

This memorandum supplements requirements in references (a), (b), and (c) with respect to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and replaces reference (d). It provides pre- and post­travel guidance for purposes of force health protection (FHP) of Service members, DoD family members, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor personnel.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Supplemental Guidance 10 for Military Medical Treatment Facilities and Military Dental Treatment Facilities Directors in regards to Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
7/1/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Continued Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

Publication
6/3/2020

TRICARE is announcing the continuation of the temporary exception to policy regarding the use of synchronous telehealth (TH) capabilities (both audio and video) for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Family Adaptive Behavior Treatment Guidance services specifically during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | About TRICARE

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/26/2020

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Guidance for Commanders on Risk-Based Changing of Health Protection Condition Levels During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/20/2020

This memorandum provides guidance for commanders to consider when making decisions to change health protection condition (HPCON) levels as COVID-19 pandemic conditions on and adjacent to our installations begin to improve.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Resuming Elective Surgical, Invasive, and Dental Procedures in Military Medical and Dental Treatment Facilities

Publication
5/19/2020

This memorandum provides guidance on how each Military Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) and Dental Treatment Facility (DTF) may resume elective medical and dental procedures.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Modification and Reissuance of DoD Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 -Travel Restrictions

Publication
4/20/2020

All DoD Service members will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect. All DoD civilian personnel, and dependents of DoD Service members and DoD civilian personnel, whose travel is Government-funded will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Implementation Guidance for Presidential Memorandum, "Providing Federal Support for Governor's Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 ," Dated April 7, 2020

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Publication
4/14/2020

A chart outlining the various Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | About TRICARE

Memorandum on Providing Federal Support for Governors' Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Delegation of Authority for Reserve Component Activation Authorities during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Response

Publication
4/10/2020

This delegation assigns to the Service Secretaries the authority to activate Reserve Component personnel and to modify their orders as needed to employ and retain them for the COVID-19 response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 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.