Veterinary professionals, pet owners instructed to implement emergency plans
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) along with other industry organizations is encouraging veterinarians to prepare themselves and their clients for the potentially dangerous repercussions of Hurricane Sandy. The large, slow-moving storm is tracking to hit the mid-Atlantic region, specifically New Jersey, tonight and tomorrow, bringing damaging winds, extremely heavy rainfall and major flooding, according to the National Weather Service. Extended power outages are expected. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has instructed owners of pets and livestock to implement emergency plans.
In New Jersey, veterinary facilities and animal shelters without power are advised to contact their local energy supplier and request priority status for energy restoration. The AVMA’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT) are standing by to respond Hurricane Sandy if needed, according to the group’s Twitter page. The organization of volunteers is deployed during disasters and emergencies to provide high-quality veterinary care and assist local providers.
Veterinarians should encourage their clients to bring their pets with them if they evacuate. If evacuated, owners should bring a portable pet carrier for each animal and identification for each animal. Owners should have copies of pets’ licenses, leashes, water and food bowls, pet foods, bottled water, special medications and instructions for their administration, any special needs for the pet, blankets, handy wipes, paper towels and litter or bedding. Make plans to find pet-friendly motels or shelters.
Veterinarians or clinics that assist animals during this disaster may be eligible for reimbursement through American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) grants. These grants are available for housing animals and for financing repairs at damaged clinics. More information can be found at avmf.org/whatwedo/disaster-veterinary-animal-care-reimbursement and avmf.org/whatwedo/disaster-veterinary-practice-relief/.
Go to avma.com for disaster preparedness materials. The state of New Jersey Animal Emergency Preparedness information can be found at nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/ah/prog/emergency_preparedness.html.