28th and 43rd Vets put skills to work

By: Spc. Fabian Ortega
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) PAO

The 28th Veterinary Detachment held a two-day field exercise in conjunction with the 43rd Vet. Detachment on Fort Hood to test newly fielded equipment and conduct collective training for veterinary personnel, July 31.

Soldiers from the 28th Vet. Detachment, 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion, 1st Med. Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) put their skills to work, performing medical services and minor surgeries on live patients, which included cats and dogs, in a full hospital set up.

The 28th Vet. Detachment, made up of 14 Soldiers three of which are veterinarians, set up a field hospital to house their new veterinary equipment and to test the durability of the new issue.

The unit was recently fielded new veterinary equipment sets by United States Army Medical Materiel Agency and have been training on this new equipment for the past two months, said Maj. Cheryl Sofaly, commander of the 28th Vet. Detachment.

“We were recently issued our equipment in April, we haven’t got a chance to really test it [in the field],” said Capt. Lisa Branstad, a veterinarian with the 28th Vet. Detachment. “This is our first time getting to come out with our brand new field equipment, we’re testing it out, making sure it can work in a very hot environment, Brandstad said.

“When we fielded [the equipment] in April, it obviously performed a lot differently than it does here in August.”

The 28th Vet. Detachment was issued standard equipment found at most veterinary clinics, which made testing the equipment in a field environment and in high temperatures critical, Branstad said.

With the new equipment, the unit’s capabilities include emergency stabilization and critical care, X-Ray, ultrasound, laboratory procedures, anesthesia, surgical procedures, and hospitalization of veterinary patients.

We’ve had problems with the lab and radiology equipment holding up, Brandstad said.

“But the surgical equipment is performing well,” she added.

In keeping with their doctrinal mission, the 28th Vet. Detachment was also performing routine medical care and surgical procedures on animals.

“We’re mainly doing spays and neuters, also some eye surgeries,” said Bramstad. “The majority of the animals are privately owned pets obtained from people who wanted to donate their animals, so we can do some training on them.”

Bramstad added, “We try to utilize strays as much as we can, because any surgeries that we do, increases their adoptability.”

A good mix of medical and surgical cases representative of what Soldiers might encounter in an actual deployed situation, were present during the exercise.