At a medical outreach program in the Afghani village of Khakeran, 130 miles northeast of the main southern city of Kandahar, U.S. Army Capt. Stephanie Fonseca administers a dose of deworming medication to a sheep. Captain Fonseca is a veterinarian for the 79th Medical Detachment, a small unit that operated throughout Afghanistan from April 2005 until its return in May 2006 to a NATO base in Belgium. An AVMA member, Capt. Fonseca was one of nine veterinarians deployed to Afghanistan with the 79th. Other units are working on the same mission in countries from Afghanistan to Somalia in the Horn of Africa.
Army veterinarians are responsible for food safety inspection and for operation of large and small animal practices on bases at home and abroad. While deployed overseas, they engage in livestock and veterinary health missions for local populations. They are also involved in operations to monitor the worldwide movement of avian flu and other livestock diseases.