Vets Treat Hundreds of Animals in Kenya

By Michelle Halpin

Kenyan veterinary staff treat a goat during a veterinary civil action program conducted on Manda Island in Kenya. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s 350th Civil Affairs Command, Functional Specialty Team, spearheaded the event, which treated over 400 goats, sheep and dogs at the site. The 350th CACOM FXSP is an Army Reserve unit based in Pensacola, Florida.


MANDA BAY, Kenya (CJTF-HOA) — A Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa civil affairs team worked side by side with host nation veterinarians and other locals to vaccinate and treat more than 400 animals for various ailments during a veterinary civil action program that kicked off on Manda Island in Kenya’s Lamu District.

Members of CJTF-HOA’s 350th Civil Affairs Command, Functional Specialty Team, joined their local partners at a "cattle crush" and attended to 441 goats and sheep and a dozen dogs brought to the VETCAP by local herdsman. All the animals were treated for internal and external parasites and ticks. Additionally, goats and sheep received a dose of multi-vitamins and were treated for blood-borne parasites and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, which is a major killer of goats in Africa.

The Manda "cattle crush" is the first of several sites the 350th CACOM FXSP and their Kenyan partners visited in the region.

"Yesterday, being the first day of the VETCAP, was our initial opportunity to partner with the Kenyan veterinary staff, the veterinarians and the local technicians. Our goal was to facilitate and to work in a supportive role for them while they actually conducted the vaccination injections. The idea of doing the veterinary work while we were in a supportive role in the background is absolutely what our goal is and what our focus and what our mission is," said Army Capt. Catherine I. Williams, 350th CACOM FXSP lead veterinarian.

"It was a great first day. We (also) got to work with the Kenya Red Cross and the National Youth Service. They did a great job helping move the goats and working with the animal herdsman. I was really pleased with their [Kenyans] work ethic. They were willing to get in there and get dirty and get the herds run through. I think it’s going to be a great mission," said Army Capt. Karin Hamilton, 350th CACOM FXSP veterinary corps officer.

According to the team, things will get a little more complex at the next VETCAP site.

"We look forward to seeing how the next several days go when we start adding cattle – we start working cattle and chickens and goats at the same time. Yesterday was a fairly slow paced day and I think it was important for us to work out any potential problems and kinks in our system," Williams added.

The VETCAP personnel expect to treat over 20,000 animals during their current mission, where at its peak they expect to take care of over 10,000 animals in a single day.

An Army Reservist and veteran of seven other VETCAPs during this deployment, Williams is a private veterinary practitioner in Fayetteville, Ark., which is also her hometown. She is part of the 7307th Medical Exercise Support Battalion at Fort Sam Houston and is deployed with the 422nd Medical Detachment, currently attached to CJTF-HOA’s 350th CACOM FXSP.

Hamilton is an active duty Soldier deployed from Veterinary Command at Fort Sill, Okla., and claims both Virginia Beach, Va., and South Sutton, N.H., as her hometowns. She recently completed an extensive VETCAP mission in Uganda, where she assisted in the treatment over 30,000 animals.

The mission of CJTF-HOA is to prevent conflict, promote regional stability, and to protect coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism.