Instead of letting 300 rabies vaccinations expire next month unused, Fort Hood’s 43rd Medical Detachment distributed them to the community for free Saturday.

People with their dogs and cats began lining up before the 9 a.m. clinic began, and the line reached its max by 10:30.

“I think people are being pretty understanding that we are going as fast as we can,” said Capt. Nathan Cartlon, a veterinarian with the detachment, which falls under the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade. “Things have gone pretty smoothly.”

Lindsey Smith, a military spouse new to Fort Hood, brought her three dogs to the clinic and waited for about two hours to get the free vaccinations.

“They needed it,” she said. “This is a good deal. At the vet you pay a $40 vet fee. Also, they haven’t been registered on post and now they are.”

The 43rd Medical Detachment provides veterinary services and has five teams each consisting of a veterinarian and a vet tech, with the bulk of the soldiers as food inspectors, said Capt. Craig Calkins, a veterinarian in the detachment.

“Each team should be able to work on 50 working dogs and inspect enough food for 10,000 soldiers,” he said.

While the free clinic was great for the community, Calkins said it also provided valuable cross-training for the soldiers.

Spc. Nicholas Hope, a food inspector and one of about 45 soldiers working the clinic, said he helps with vet services often and has learned to give shots and take blood.

“A lot of times food inspectors do both jobs downrange,” he said.

Calkins said it was also nice to see such a turnout for the clinic, because rabies vaccinations are important in keeping the community safe and healthy from this preventable disease.

“It’s important for both the animal population and the human population, because there is a lot of rabies in Central Texas,” he said.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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