VETERINARY SERVICE IN THE FIELD.
The Veterinary Service in the Field is under the control of a Director of Veterinary Services, who is assisted by representatives with the various formations and at the various commands on the lines of communication.
The Veterinary Service represents to the animals of the army what the Medical Service is to the troops. The first duty is to keep animals fit, and when no longer fit, to evacuate them from the field forces as quickly as possible. The first duty is accomplished by--
(a) Preventing the introduction of contagious or infectious diseases.
(b) By prompt treatment in the case of minor ailments, and advice as to the care of animals in the field.
The establishment of the Veterinary Service is made up of the following details:
The Veterinary Officers with field units and formations are allotted to Cavalry regiments, Artillery brigades, Infantry brigades, the Divisional Ammunition Column and Divisional Trains, who are assisted by the farriers of the unit or formation. It is their duty to render first aid in all cases of sickness and injury and to supervise the care of animals. Should they consider that any animal is not properly cared for, or that its condition is such as to need treatment, they will call the attention of the Commander to the fact and take such steps as may be necessary. Where a unit has no Veterinary Officer attached, the representative on the headquarters of the formation will act in case of necessity.
Mobile veterinary Sections are allotted to each Cavalry brigade and Infantry division and act under the orders of the representative on the headquarters subject to such reservations as may be imposed by the Commander of the force. It is their duty to collect all sick or wounded animals within the formation, and to clear them from the fighting zone as quickly as possible. If the force is stationary, they will establish hospitals for the care of animals which are likely to recover soon. Severe cases should be evacuated from the field for treatment.
The Veterinary Hospitals are established on the lines of communication for the care of sick and wounded animals. They are capable of accommodating 1,000 animals. They will be situated at such points on the lines of communication as may be directed by the I.G.C. through the Deputy Director of Veterinary Services, but will usually be at the Advanced Bases or at the Main Base. An Advanced Depot of veterinary stores is usually attached to the hospitals, to supply required equipment and drugs for the field forces. These may be forwarded by the Supply Column from rail.
Veterinary Convalescent Depots are established at suitable points on the lines of communication for the reception of animals discharged from hospital or tired and worn-out animals sent down for rest. As a rule they will be situated at the bases.
The system of dealing with sick or wounded animals is as follows:
Where the animal is able to walk it is given the necessary first-aid treatment and then will be sent down to the railhead in the care of a conducting party and attached to the Divisional Supply Column. This party will consist of one N.C.O. and one man for each truck required on rail and will be furnished by the Mobile Veterinary Section. Folding water pails will be carried by the party and plenty of fodder will be obtained. As soon as the party has started, a wire will be sent to the Veterinary Officer at the railhead.
The necessary allotment of trucks will be made by the R.T.O. at the railhead. Upon delivering up the animals, the N.C.O. will obtain receipt for the animals on a form supplied to him in duplicate, the original being kept by the Officer taking charge. The conducting party will return with the Divisional Supply Column as far as refilling points, when they return to their section. Each animal will have a label attached to it upon which will be shown the unit to which the animal belongs and the nature of the disease or injury. In order to facilitate despatch to proper quarters, the labels used are of different colours according to the disease. These are as follows:
White .. Medical cases.
Green .. Surgical cases.
Red . . Specific cases.
Blue . . Cast horses, other than veterinary cases.
Where an animal is sent down with a specific disease, the car number must be noted, and all blankets, etc., used for the animal will be sent with it. The animal will be sent to a special hospital.
Where an animal is injured or is too sick to walk the animal may be destroyed, if certified by the V.O. to be of no further military service, or it may be transported by horse ambulance. This will be governed largely by the nature of the operations.
For an advancing force it may be possible to leave the animal at some point to be collected later and be evacuated to rail. Proper attention must be left for it.
A record of all animals admitted to veterinary hospitals is kept, and is forwarded to the D.V.S. and to the Veterinary Records Office at the Base, on A.F. 2000, made up to Thursday evening in each week. This form shows the number of animals received, classifying the disease in technical terms, and the disposition of those sent away, with balance remaining on charge.
Should a case of infectious disease be detected it must be notified at once to the nearest Veterinary Officer, who will either direct the animal to be destroyed, certifying the fact and stating reasons, or will order the animal to be isolated. In all cases of infectious or contagious diseases the cause should be investigated, and such steps taken to remove same as is possible. The strictest precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of the disease and any orders necessary for this purpose will be submitted to the Staff of the formation, for inclusion in orders.
All captured animals or stock must be examined for signs of contagious or infectious diseases, after which draught animals will be handed over to the Remount Service, accompanied by the V.O. certificate, and all stock to the Supply Service.
As soon as an animal recovers, it will be transferred to a Convalescent Depot, or returned to Remount Services for issue. All animals which are no longer fit for service will be disposed of by the I.G.C.'s orders, or be destroyed.
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