|Disaster Preparedness and Your Pet - What do you need to know in order to keep your pets and animals safe during Oklahoma’s severe weather season?|
|Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:28|
Most often tornado warnings do not allow sufficient preparation time to allow the evacuation of livestock (cattle, horses, sheep, goats, etc.).
The decision to keep your horses in the barn, or turn them out in an open field may vary with the individual facility and storm severity. One should take into consideration the barn construction as well as outdoor structures (trees, power lines, fences etc.).
If animals are in an open field, flying debris can cause cuts, bruising and eye injuries, while blunt force trauma can result in life threatening injuries to the head, chest, abdomen or legs.
If animals are left inside a barn, the building can collapse on them resulting in life threating injuries as well. Unfortunately, there is no fail safe rule to protect them.
It is a good idea to have an emergency barn kit stored in a safe place which can be easily accessed after a storm. The kit should contain emergency treatment supplies such as eye and wound ointments, leg wraps, vet wrap, tape, etc.
It is also wise to have items such as a flashlight, chainsaw and fuel, hammers and fencing material stored in a safe readily accessible place.
Permanent identification of all horses with a microchip, brand or tattoo is recommended.
Companion animals (including exotic pets) should be included in your family's regular disaster plan.
The best way to be sure your pet can be located if it should be separated from you is to microchip your cat or dog and to register the chip.
It does no good to just implant the chip if you do not register it with the company so that your contact information is identified with the chip number.
Your veterinarian can do this for approximately $25-30 per pet. Any animal can be micro-chipped.
Make sure you have a carrier, leash, and perhaps a favorite toy easily accessible when it is time for your family to go to their 'safe place.'
Include some treats or pet food, water and something to pour it into in case you are required to spend an extended period of time in your storm shelter or safe place.
A copy of your pet's vaccinations and your veterinarian's name and phone number would be a good idea to include as well. That way, if your pet requires veterinary medical attention immediately following the storm, you will have that information already with you and won't need to take time to try to locate it.
Oklahomans saw two F5 tornados in May. The devastation was wide spread and included many displaced and injured animals.
Thanks to the veterinary supply and pharmaceutical companies, animal foundations, rescues and pet organizations and many wonderful individual donors who supported the OSU Animal Relief Fund, Oklahoma State University's Veterinary Medical Hospital was able to provide veterinary medical treatment at no charge to the owners of these animals affected and injured by the tornados and storms.
Don't wait for a tornado to twist through your neighborhood. Make a plan now that includes precautions for the four-legged members of your family.
This column is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital. The Veterinary Medical Hospital is open to the public and provides routine and specialized care for small and large animals. It also offers 24-hour emergency care and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association.