JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
The summer permanent-change-of-station season is filled with many challenges for active-duty members and their families - from packing up and moving their household goods to finding a new place to live and making sure the children are registered and ready for school.
The PCS checklist should also include attending to the needs of another member of the household - the family pet.
Families who will be living at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and other JBSA locations are required to register their dogs and cats with their veterinary treatment facilities upon their arrival. The pets are also required to have a microchip and wear identification tags and a rabies tag.
"For pet owners residing on JBSA-Randolph, we need to register their pets on base within 30 days," Donna Bothe, JBSA-Randolph Veterinary Clinic office manager, said. "To do this, pet owners must provide the current rabies certificate, immunizations and proof of microchip."
If active-duty members have already registered their pets through the Department of Defense's Remote Online Veterinary Record system, also called ROVR, this step should be easy, Stephanie Geren, JBSA-Randolph Veterinary Clinic technician, said.
"Since their pets' records are already in ROVR, we will just have to update their address and other new information," she said. "The system will show us what vaccinations and sicknesses their pets have had."
Active-duty families who live off-base may also register with the JBSA-Randolph clinic and bring their pets for services the VTF provides, Geren said.
Those services include vaccinations, deworming, blood work and treatment for minor problems involving pets' eyes, ears and skin, she said.
For more serious problems, active-duty members and other beneficiaries with military treatment facility privileges should take their pets to the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston VTF or a civilian veterinary hospital.
"The VTF at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston does have X-ray and surgical capabilities, but no veterinary facility within JBSA offers emergency care for privately owned animals at this time," Army Capt. (Dr.) Ambre Gejer, JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph Veterinary Clinics officer in charge, said. "Pets with emergency needs or chronic diseases that require a certain continuity of care are encouraged to establish relationships with local civilian veterinary facilities."
All dogs and cats that live on base are required to be vaccinated for rabies in accordance with state laws, according to information provided by the Army's South Texas Branch Veterinary Services at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. In addition, all dogs should be given monthly heartworm preventatives.
Other vaccines that are strongly recommended for dogs include leptospirosis, distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus. Recommended vaccines for cats include ones that protect them from feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.
Pet owners also have requirements for transfer of ownership and change of information.
According to guidelines provided by South Texas Branch Veterinary Services, if a pet is sold or given away, "it is the original owner's responsibility to change the registration to the new owner or the original owner will be held accountable for the pet." Regarding change of information, such as address, phone number or unit, "the owner is required to inform the VTF of any change ... within three working days."
Air Force Instruction 32-6001, which governs privatized base housing, also includes requirements for pet owners. Prohibitions include dogs of any breed that are deemed "aggressive" or "potentially aggressive;" unprovoked barking, growling or snarling at people approaching the animal; biting or scratching people; and escaping confinement or restriction to chase people.
In addition, residents may not board exotic animals; must secure their pets with leashes or have them under positive control while outdoors, except in fenced patios and yards; and must clean pet areas regularly to prevent vermin infestation.
The JBSA-Randolph Veterinary Clinic's operating hours are 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday-Friday; appointments are scheduled in advance.