USSOF Provides Veterinary Support to Badghis Livestock Owners

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Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan


BADGHIS, Afghanistan (April 7, 2011) – U.S. Special Operations Forces provided veterinary care to approximately 1300 animals in the village of Qibcaq in Murghab District in late March, the latest episode of an ongoing program of assistance by U.S. Army veterinarians.

In the Badghis program, in less than three hours, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan veterinarian was able to vaccinate nearly 1300 sheep, goats, and horses brought in for treatment by local livestock owners.

“Qibcaq was in need of support from a veterinarian due to their large quantity of livestock in the local area,” the USSOF team leader said. “The vet said that he had not treated this many animals in such a short amount of time.”

Qibcaq is a low income community with several livestock owners who have never taken their animals in for veterinary treatment, the team leader added.

"In the areas where SOF teams operate, there are few veterinarians or para-veterinarians, so I am often the only vet the animals will ever see,” the veterinarian said.

CJSOTF-A veterinarians provide veterinary support to the SOF teams in the form of animal care, food inspection, and training, the vet said.

“I primarily de-worm the animals, although I will treat some of the more common infectious diseases like pneumonia, foot rot and pink eye if I see them,” the vet said. “I provide the teams with another tool to build and strengthen their relationship with the population.”

Having these animals vaccinated will decrease the mortality rate of local livestock this year which will help the local economy through increased livestock sales and provide healthier food, the team leader said.

“Increased weight gain, increased reproductive success, and less disease make the animal more valuable,” the vet said. “Parasites compete with the animal for nutrients. Removing this competition helps the animal gain weight, reproduce, and fight off disease.”

Despite the large numbers present to see the veterinarian, very little coordination was required to make the event successful. The community responded very well to the vet’s visit, the team leader said.

“As soon as we learned exactly when the veterinarian was arriving in Qibcaq we spoke with a village elder to arrange a time and date for the animals to be treated,” the team leader said. “It lets the community know we are willing to help them in many different ways to include flying a veterinarian in to conduct a [veterinary seminar] for the village.”