Pet Talk: Big Animals Need Big Plans: Preparing Herds and Big Animals for Disasters | Business


BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION – Preparedness is always key in any type of emergency response, but this is especially true when it comes to caring for large animals in the event of a disaster.

Unlike pets, which can usually be transported quickly and easily, moving large animals can be time consuming, which is usually rare in disasters.

According to Dr Wesley Bissett, director of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Veterinary Emergency Team, there are several things to prepare for and practice when it comes to showing animals and horses. .

“A simple one is to just make sure your pet is trained to load into a trailer,” Bissett said. “Weather will be the main factor in keeping you and your animals safe, and you don’t want the first time you load an animal to be in this situation. “

Another tip from Bissett is to create a “starter kit” inside airtight containers that includes three to five days of food and water and at least two weeks of medication, along with first aid supplies, medication. cleaning products and additional lead. ropes, halters and blankets.

“Resources can be scarce immediately after a disaster, so making sure you have at least several days of supplies ready for use can make a huge difference,” he said.

It’s also important to have copies of your animal’s medical records (and Coggins papers for horses) and a way to identify the animal, such as by freezing or microchipping, in case you are separated.

“If you need to temporarily house your pet in an emergency shelter, having these medical records and these identification methods will make the process much easier,” Bissett said.

For cattle herds, preparation is even more important because of the number of animals that can be involved.

“A big key to preparing a herd of cattle is just knowing which parts of the property will typically be flooded first,” Bissett said. “Where are the low areas? Which parts of the property are cut off from the others? Every disaster is different, but it will at least help you determine potential escape routes and where to place food and equipment so you don’t have to try and make those decisions on the fly.

Evacuating a herd and positioning food and equipment will take a long time, which is why Bissett recommends having a formal written evacuation schedule and sticking to it if it appears to be. ‘a catastrophe could approach.

“One of our natural tendencies in disaster situations is to wait as long as possible in the hope that there is nothing to do,” he said. “But when you talk about a lot of big animals, food and equipment, if you wait too long, it might be too late. You must have an idea of ​​how long the process will take.

A disaster situation for a large herd of animals could mean more than just natural disasters, however, and Bissett said the vet can help ranchers make business continuity plans.

“Having a good biosecurity plan for an infectious disease outbreak can make a huge difference in the impact of your operation,” he said. “A good biosecurity plan can not only help minimize infections in the herd, but even allow you to continue operations during an outbreak. “

Finally, for all sorts of disasters and you have a show animal that is several thousand head, Bissett said she knows the local emergency management offices and plans.

Getting to know your local animal control offices, emergency vets and vets, county AgriLife agents, and others in your local emergency management will not only help you prepare for a disaster, but could also help you prepare for a disaster. allow you to help others, ”he said. “In a disaster, people will come together and help, but you need a plan for how you’re going to communicate and coordinate resources or you could create even more problems.

– Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. The stories can be found on the Pet Talk website. Suggestions for future topics can be addressed to

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