In the wake of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, caring for people who become sick or injured can be a challenge. The same is true for pets. Animals, too, can be sick, injured and displaced during a storm and need medicine, medical supplies, and a cadre of qualified veterinary professionals to provide them with top quality care and help them recover. Yet their families may not be in a position to care for them after a disaster and local veterinary offices may not be available due to storm damage.
Enter the National Veterinary Response Team, part of ASPR’s National Disaster Medical System. At the request of state and local agencies, NVRT vets and vet techs are currently providing primary and acute care for pets at two hard hit locations in the New York City area: Brooklyn and Far Rockaway.
In Brooklyn, NVRT is working with a host of partners at a large pet shelter. Partners include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, television personality Rachael Ray, and a NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team (NYC VERT). The shelter opened Nov. 17 and expects to care for more than 200 pets a day who have been displaced temporarily as their families recover from the hurricane.
NVRT members also are providing veterinary care from a mobile vet clinic in the Far Rockaway area while local veterinary practices repair their offices and become available again in the community. As the mobile clinic opened Nov. 16, NVRT responders began treating dozens of pets each day.
To support residents in these hard hit areas, NVRT members traveled from across the country to join the response; some came from as far away as Alaska and Florida.
You can help keep your pet safe and healthy during a disaster. Animals can get sick from swallowing floodwater or from trying to clean themselves after they have been in floodwater. They can be injured by crawling over debris left in the wake of a disaster.
Make sure that your pets are ready for the next disaster in your community. Check out our previous blog post: Protect your Furry Friends from Nature’s Fury. Got other tips for keeping pets safe and healthy following Hurricane Sandy? Share them with us in a comment on this blog post!