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VTF cares for TSA K-9
Virginia Munson, a volunteer veterinarian with the Veterinary Treatment Facility, feels Llangley’s neck, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) explosives detection K-9, for any abnormalities during her 6-month check-up at VTF at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 21, 2013. Although Llangley is trained to be tame around people she doesn’t know, she wears a muzzle during most of her check-up to ensure safety for everyone involved. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ned T. Johnston)
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MacDill's veterinarians care to TSA K-9

Posted 8/27/2013   Updated 8/27/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Ned T. Johnston
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- "The job that these dogs do is so incredibly important because people's safety is on the line, and we take great pride in keeping these dogs healthy," said Army Spc. Caleb Jefferson, an animal care specialist with the Veterinary Treatment Facility on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

When it comes to making sure that the public is safe while flying commercial airlines, the best in the business is the Transportation Security Administration explosives detection K-9 handlers and their "partners."

Making sure the four-legged Tampa TSA agents are in good health and up for any task is the job of the VTF.

Even though the TSA is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, the dogs used by TSA are owned and trained by the Department of Defense. These dogs train alongside military working dogs at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. However, they are trained to be less aggressive and more relaxed in large crowds of people.

Since military veterinarians see working dogs regularly and are well trained on how to deal with such dogs, TSA K-9 handlers bring their dogs onto military installations for their biannual check-ups.

"Taking these dogs to the veterinarian office every six months to make sure they're healthy and able to perform their duties as best as possible is vital," said Brandy Smith, a TSA K-9 handler assigned to the Tampa International Airport.

During these check-ups, the dogs receive physical examinations, vaccinations, and medications needed to ensure their good health.

"We put the dogs through a running and walking analysis to make sure they aren't showing any signs of hip dysplasia," said Jefferson. "We also vaccinate the dogs for a multitude of different things such as rabies, leptospirosis, and kennel cough."

The overall health of the dogs plays a huge factor in how well they perform their job. Whether it is physical ailment or a runny nose, these dogs can't afford to make a mistake, and the VTF makes sure that they don't.

8/29/2013 7:46:33 PM ET
Nice to see an article regarding the care of our 4 legged service members. They provide vital help to civilian and military members all over the globe. Our MWD's at Camp Asayliyah and Al Udeid airbase in Qatar were the best Go Army Veterinary Corps
Leslie Dahl USAR VC, Chicago IL
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