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Posts Tagged ‘disaster preparedness’

Dr. Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian and owner of Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, attended a lecture on the role of veterinarians in emergencies and natural disaster response.

He learned that the major challenges pets face after a widespread disaster (such as hurricane, flood, tornado) are: lack of adequate food and shelter, lack of access to medical care, the increased rate of infectious diseases, and the exacerbation of existing disease.

Disaster clean-up and recovery efforts can take a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks to effect change, and often take longer. For those people displaced, life may not return to normal for 4 to 6 months, according to Dr. Jenifer Chatfield, an expert on emergency response. What will happen to chronically ill pets during those 4 to 6 months? More on that, later.

In an emergency, veterinarians may volunteer to assist with recovery efforts in their community, or they may work to re-open their medical practice as soon as possible, to provide for pets’ healthcare needs. At the community level, human needs for food, clean drinking water, shelter, and medical care are met first. Then care can be extended to pets. Knowing that a hierarchy of assistance exists will help you make better disaster planning decisions.
Challenges for Pets During Disasters
*Infectious diseases may spread more rapidly.
-Leptospirosis is contracted through contaminated water and displaced wildlife
-Rabies is spread through displaced wildlife, which comes into more frequent contact with homeless pets
-Distemper, Influenza, and Parvovirus spread among pets kept in close quarters, such as at shelters
*Parasites increase in number
-Fleas, gastrointestinal parasites, and heartworms spread more easily when pets do not receive their regular doses of preventative
*Existing, chronic diseases are left untreated and worsen
-Diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, and more, worsen when drugs and special diets are no longer available to treat them. This can happen when people are trying to get life back on track and pet care may not be given high priority.

Not all disasters can be foreseen, but when you have advance warning, be sure to have a plan in place.

*If you evacuate, where will you go and how soon will you leave?
*If evacuating — whether to a shelter, hotel, or another home — will you be able to bring your pets?

*When preparing supplies, such as food and drinking water, include your pets’ needs in the calculations.
*When severe weather is forecast, find out from your pet’s veterinarian if you can stock up on prescription drugs and diets, to last through several weeks of recovery.
*If evacuating, bring your pet’s flea and heartworm preventatives.
*Be certain that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, or schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to bring all vaccines and preventative treatments current.

More information
Learn about Norfolk’s emergency shelter for pets and people here.
Get a helpful planning guide from Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.
Get facts on infectious diseases for dogs and cats, including Rabies.

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Of the items on this list, the Earthquake Shakeout truly captures my imagination. Remember the little temblor felt up and down the East Coast in 2011? I do!

I was reclining on a cot and felt it shaking. My first thought was that one of my cats had run beneath it and was bouncing around. Then I noticed the model airplane that was attached to a ceiling light fixture — the airplane was swaying! That’s when I knew I had experienced an earthquake. Luckily for all of us, it was a relatively  minor incident.

Will the next one be as cute and harmless? Maybe not. October 20th is the day to practice for The Big One (also good if you’re moving out West.)

American Humane Association’s Adopt-a-Dog Month

ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

National Animal Safety and Protection Month

World Animal Day
October 4

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day
October 7

National Walk Your Dog Week
October 1-7

World Food Day
October 16

Earthquake Preparedness Shakeout
Dates vary by state

Winter Weather Preparedness Week
Dates vary by state

Reptile Awareness Day
October 21

National Cat Day
October 29

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Hurricane Prep would be an awesome name for a school, right? Especially in a coastal town like ours.

But around here, “hurricane prep” means knowing what to do if a major storm hits, bringing with it destructive high-powered winds and flooding.

Pet owners have an extra set of responsibilities during storm prep.

1. If evacuating, determine whether you can safely and reasonably bring pets with you.
If yes – be certain the intended storm shelter, hotel, or other destination will accept pets.
If no – find out which local animal shelters and boarding kennels will accept pets during the storm.

2. Gather all paperwork showing that your pet is up-to-date on its vaccinations, whether your pet stays home or heads for higher ground.
If the vaccines are expired, now is a good time to renew them.

3. Stock up on your pet’s medications. In the case of evacuation, you may need two weeks’ to one month’s worth of medications on hand.

4. Transfer your pet’s food to a sturdy, water-tight container, to prevent spoilage.

5. When buying gallon water jugs for the family, figure in each pet as one more family member and purchase water accordingly.

6. Gather collars or harnesses, tags, leashes or pet carriers for easy access during evacuation.

7. Animals with storm anxiety may need extra care; those that tend to run or hide may be more safely kept in a roomy pet crate during the storm.

8. A permanent microchip ID, such as HomeAgain, is the best bet for reuniting pets and families that may become separated during the storm.

And remember to pick up your copy of “Saving the Whole Family”available at our office for $2. The booklet has tips for owners of dogs, cats, reptiles, horses, and other pets. You’ll also find complete guides to building first-aid kits and evacuation kits. Get yours today!

 

 

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     So far this week we have 1) an ongoing swamp fire, 2) a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, and 3) a looming Cat 3 hurricane.  Meanwhile, 37 million Californians just said, “I’m so glad I don’t live in Virginia.” 

     Information you can use:

  • Our clinic will be closed this Saturday, August 27th, as we batten down the hatches.  We’re working to pray the storm away (although still close enough to put out the Dismal Swamp fires), but it never hurts to be prepared.
  • I just received a call from Pampered Pets in Charlottesville, advising me that they have room for pets being evacuated westward.  All dogs and cats must be accompanied with proof of vaccination, such as Rabies plus DHPP/Bordetella for dogs and FVRCCP for cats.  Call Pampered Pets at 434-293-7387 to reserve a spot if you’re headed that way.  Website:  www.pamperedpetscville.com.
  • You still have time to pick up a copy of “Saving the Whole Family (Disaster Preparedness Series)” booklet, which guides you through the process of preparing for weather-related emergencies.  Get it at our office for $2.

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     Last week, I considered blogging about disaster preparedness during storm season.  I decided not to because I thought it might be a bit of a downer, and, anyway, there weren’t any big storms on the horizon.  That changed over the weekend.  No one has suggested so far that we’ll get much more than a glancing blow from Earl, but it does make one consider what to do in the event of a more direct hit.

     To help you consider all angles of your evacuation or shelter plan, the American Veterinary Medical Association has compiled a booklet called “Saving the Whole Family (Disaster Preparedness Series.)”  When the AVMA says “whole family,” they mean pets, too.  Many folks discover the hard way that storm shelters set up for people will not accept pets.  Also, pets come with a laundry list of supplies needed to keep them in good health during evacuation.

     The booklet, which provides pre-evacuation and post-crisis advice, is available at our office for $2.  As a benefit, $1.50 of the purchase price will be donated to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund.  The Fund will be used to cover costs associated with medical treatment for animals, animal care, medical teams and supplies in storm-damaged areas.

     While the booklet is chock-full of good advice, you must still do some research of your own.  Do you know which animal shelters in town are willing or able to take in pets during a hurricane?  Is your pet guaranteed a spot at the shelter?  What supplies and documentation will be required?  There is no time like the present to learn about your options – don’t wait until the trees start bending.

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