San Antonio - A new $15 million veterinary hospital for four-legged military personnel opened recently at Lackland Air Force Base, offering a long overdue facility that gives advanced medical treatment for combat-wounded dogs.
Dogs working for all branches of the military and the Transportation Safety Administration are trained at the base to find explosive devices, drugs and land mines. Some 2,500 dogs are working with military units.
Like soldiers and Marines in combat, military dogs suffer from war wounds and routine health issues that need to be treated to ensure they can continue working.
Dogs injured in Iraq or Afghanistan get emergency medical treatment on the battlefield and are flown to Germany for care. If necessary, they'll fly on to San Antonio for more advanced treatment - much like wounded human personnel.
We act as the Walter Reed of the veterinary world, said Army Col. Bob Vogelsang, hospital director, referring to the Washington military medical center that treats troops returning severely wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.