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Base veterinary clinic makes paw prints on Osan

Shakira sniffs around the 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support clinic prior to a routine surgery Aug. 22, 2012, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Shakira, who belongs to Osan’s Homeward Bound animal shelter, is awaiting adoption. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Shakira sniffs around the 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support clinic prior to a routine surgery Aug. 22, 2012, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Shakira, who belongs to Osan’s Homeward Bound animal shelter, is awaiting adoption. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Student technician Elysia Travis-Pires (left) and veterinarian Kyong-Mi Kim, 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support staff, monitor the vitals of a 7-year-old English Lab named Abner during a routine teeth cleaning Aug. 22, 2012, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Student technician Elysia Travis-Pires (left) and veterinarian Kyong-Mi Kim, 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support staff, monitor the vitals of a 7-year-old English Lab named Abner during a routine teeth cleaning Aug. 22, 2012, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Support staff from the 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services performs a routine teeth cleaning on Abner, a 7-year old English Lab, Aug. 22, 2012, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The base vet clinic cares for nearly 100 household pets and more than 20 military working dogs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Support staff from the 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services performs a routine teeth cleaning on Abner, a 7-year old English Lab, Aug. 22, 2012, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The base vet clinic cares for nearly 100 household pets and more than 20 military working dogs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Prince awaits a haircut and routine surgery at the 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support clinic at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 22, 2012. The staff now offers surgery twice a week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Prince awaits a haircut and routine surgery at the 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support clinic at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 22, 2012. The staff now offers surgery twice a week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Army Capt. Alicia O’Toole, 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support officer in charge, and Kyong-Mi Kim, 106th Medical Detachment veterinarian, neuter Prince at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 22, 2012.  The base vet clinic cares for more than 100 clients; most of which are privately owned pets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

Army Capt. Alicia O’Toole, 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support officer in charge, and Kyong-Mi Kim, 106th Medical Detachment veterinarian, neuter Prince at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 22, 2012. The base vet clinic cares for more than 100 clients; most of which are privately owned pets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Service members can be at ease knowing their furry companions will receive quality health care at the Osan Veterinary Treatment Facility -- where 100 household pets and more than 20 military working dogs receive care.

The U.S. Army's 106th Medical Detachment veterinary services support, headquartered at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, Republic of Korea, operates the facility.

"On a day-to-day basis, we run clinics for privately owned animals, provide first-aid treatment for MWDs, and we also provide simple surgery procedures as in neuters, spays, dental procedures, and sometimes mass removals," said U.S. Army Sgt. Devon Modrak, 106th Medical Detachment NCO in charge of the Osan VTF. "We also cover a kennel of more than 20 dogs -- the largest on the peninsula."

Modrak finds her job rewarding.

"The benefit I get from [veterinary services] is being able to provide zoonotic disease awareness, general medical care and providing care for the military working dogs," she said.

Animals in Korea face health challenges not as common in other areas of the world, explained Modrak. Pet owner education is an important factor in treating animals before it's too late.

"Heartworm disease is extremely common in Korea, even for indoor pets," said Army Capt. Alicia O'Toole, 106th Medical Detachment officer in charge of Osan's VTF. "Mosquitoes can come inside your home, putting your pets at risk. All animals should be on heartworm prevention medication, especially here."

The staff also warned of dangers of off-base animals.

"If you do pet off-base animals, don't touch other animals or people with weakened immune systems such as small children," Modrak said. "We discourage any interaction as these animals can carry roundworms and hookworms that could affect you internally. They can also carry scabies and ringworm externally."

Modrak also spoke against buying "box puppies and kittens" sometimes seen outside the front gate of military installations.

"We discourage buying off post animals," Modrak said. "They often die within a week due to sickness and being too young to be away from their mothers."

The animals can often carry upper respiratory infections and viral infections such as Parvovirus and Canine Distemper.

"When you buy a box puppy or kitten, you're not saving it -- you're actually keeping the vendor in business," said O'Toole. "It's not a rescue when you're enabling them to subject the animals to those conditions."

Regardless of where animals are purchased, or adopted, all pets are to visit the base vet clinic.

"Within the first 10 days of getting an animal, it must be registered through us," Modrack said. "That way we can ensure their health and educate owners on transportation of pets to their next assignment."

To make an appointment or for more information, contact the facility at 784-1630.