In light of the recent tragedy in Oklahoma and with
hurricane season just around the corner, doctors from BluePearl
Veterinary Partners recommend that families remember their pets when
making household emergency plans.
"Having an emergency plan in place for every member of your family, including your pets, is extremely important," said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. "Most importantly, talk with your family veterinarian to formulate an emergency plan specific to your pet's needs."
Additionally, doctors from BluePearl recommend speaking with your veterinarian about micro-chipping your pet, so in the event you and your pet are separated, your pet can be quickly identified and reunited with you.
While the number of pets affected from the tornadoes in Oklahoma on Sunday and Monday aren't quite known yet, during Hurricane Katrina, it is estimated more than 250,000 pets were separated from their families.
Besides the destruction left in their paths, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters like earthquakes are notorious for causing lengthy power outages and water shortages. Since your veterinarian may also be forced to evacuate, make sure you have a two-week supply of your pet's medications, food and water.
While earthquakes and tornadoes can occur at any moment, hurricane season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.
During a disaster, BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospitals remain open unless forced to evacuate. BluePearl hospitals are not evacuation shelters and only provide emergency and specialty treatment.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and individuals who have been affected by the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma on Sunday and Monday," said Shaw. "We have reached out to and are currently working with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to see where BluePearl can be most helpful."
Here are some additional tips recommended by BluePearl doctors:
BEFORE A DISASTER
• Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
• Have a current photograph.
• Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
• Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal - carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
• Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet! Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
• If you plan to shelter your pet - work it into your evacuation route planning.
DURING A DISASTER
• Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
• Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.
• Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
AFTER A DISASTER
• Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
• If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
• After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.
• Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.
PET DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
• Proper identification including immunization records
• Ample supply of food and water
• A carrier or cage
• Muzzle, collar and leash
About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don't provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services. BluePearl is one of the world's principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.