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68T - Animal Care Specialist

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Army Pfc. Randi Baker, an animal care specialist at the Quantico Veterinary Treatment Facility, notices a cut on Millie, a 10-year-old yellow Labrador, after checking her pulse.
United States Marine Corps/Public Domain

Basic Job Description

Here's something I bet you didn't know. The Army provides veterinary services to all of the military branches. While their primary mission is to take care of Government-owned animals, such as patrol dogs, ceremonial horses, sled dogs sea mammals, and animals used in research, they also provide basic veterinary services to military members with pets. The animal care specialist supervises or provides the care, management, treatment, and sanitary conditions for animals, with a primary responsibility of prevention and control of diseases transmitted from animal to man and comprehensive care for government owned animals.

Duties performed by Soldiers in this MOS include:

Provides routine daily care for animals in veterinary treatment or research and development facilities, obtains medical history from owners and/or handlers and measures and records animal vital signs. Performs physical examinations to detect obvious abnormalities and reports findings to veterinarian, Positions and restrains animals for examination and treatment. Calculates doses and administers oral and topical medications as directed by the veterinarian. Maintains sanitary conditions for all components of the veterinary treatment facilities to include operating room and equipment. Assists veterinarian in surgical procedures and performs euthanasia when instructed by veterinarian. Cleans, debrides, and sutures superficial wounds. Collects, preserves, and prepares blood, urine, feces, skin scrapings, and post mortem specimens for shipment and evaluation. Performs routine diagnostic laboratory tests such as fecal smears, urinalysis, blood counts, and chemistries. Records laboratory test results. Takes and develops radiographs of designated animal body parts. Initiates and maintains animal health records, immunization records, animal registration files, animal bite case reports, and other administrative office files.

Provides technical guidance, management, and training to junior personnel. Performs advanced emergency medical procedures on animals such as triage, tracheotomy, bum and poison management, venous cutdown, and insertion of stomach tubes. Operates mechanical respirators, heart monitors, and gas sterilizer apparatus. Supervises supply management and patient administration procedures. Prepares budgets, trains handlers in emergency care of animals, and assists on research protocol teams.

Training Information

Job training for an animal care specialist requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 11 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, including practice in animal care.

Some of the skills you’ll learn are: Patient care techniques, emergency medical techniques, methods of sterilizing surgical equipment and plaster-casting techniques.

ASVAB Score Required: 15 in aptitude area ST

Security Clearance: None

Strength Requirement: moderately heavy

Physical Profile Requirement: 222221

Other Requirements

  • Normal color vision required
  • Successful completion and credit for high school course in one of the biological sciences

Similar Civilian Occupations

  • Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
  • Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

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