Veterinary Emergency Team Continues Efforts in Bastrop
SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 - *UPDATE* Veterinary Emergency Team
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency
Team is set to de-mobilize mid-morning on Sept. 16. After two weeks
serving as part of the response effort for the Bastrop Complex
wildfire, the members of the VET will return to their home base in
College Station. The needs of the animals affected by the fire will
continue to be met by local officials and veterinary practitioners
in Bastrop County.
"As we conclude our part of the response effort, it is important
to note that we would not have been able to do our part if it had
not been for the support from not only Bastrop County officials,
but also its citizens," said Dr. Wesley Bissett, assistant
professor of large animal clinical sciences at Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and
director of the VET. "We arrived in Bastrop County prepared to do
our job, but the outpouring of support from the community and the
cooperation from Bastrop County officials was nothing short of
amazing, and it made it easier for the team to focus on what we
needed to do for the animals."
The VET treated more than 150 animals, some of which were
severely injured in the fire that swept through Bastrop County.
"We provided veterinary triage and care to a large number of
animals in a short period of time," said Bissett. "These animals
will have the best chance at life that we could give them. But that
chance also comes from the animal control officer, the sheriff's
deputy, or the firefighter who found them and brought them to our
triage center. It also comes from the local practitioners and
community volunteers who continued treatment and care for the
animals after leaving our center and moving to a shelter. I am
still humbled and have a deep admiration for this community, its
residents, and the officials that we have had the privilege to work
After returning to Texas A&M, the VET will take time to
review their role in the overall response effort with input from
Bastrop County emergency management personnel, the Texas Animal
Health Commission, and Texas Task Force-1, and will identify
lessons learned on the scene that will enhance the team's ability
to respond in the future.
"The one thing I think each of us on the VET will take with us
after we return home," said Bissett, "is the connection we have
with this community and its pets. We will continue to wish them the
best as they begin the process of recovery. It was an honor to
The VET expanded operations in Bastrop earlier this week,
bringing both of their trailers and a field service vehicle which
increased the team's flexibility in responding to animals in
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The primary objective of the TAMU Veterinary Emergency Response
Team is to protect the health and well-being of animals, humans,
and the environment in times of disaster. Our proactive approach to
emergency response is to preserve animal and public health while
limiting economic losses that disasters can cause. Working
together, trained faculty and staff serve on deployable response
teams, but also in and out of the classroom as we prepare other
veterinary professionals and our students to participate in
emergency response efforts at local, state, and federal levels.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 - The number of animals seen by the Texas
A&M Veterinary Emergency Team has remained steady as team
members continue operating at the Bastrop Rodeo Arena. Two
veterinarians and a total of nine fourth year veterinary medical
students have participated in in the Bastrop Complex deployment,
providing relief for other members of the team.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 - As more of the area affected by the Bastrop
Complex wildfire is brought under control, the number of animals
being seen by the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team has been
significantly reduced. However, the services of this special team
are still needed to support local veterinarians and animal health
officials with those animals remaining in emergency shelters.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 - While firefighters continue working to
increase the control they have over the wildfire burning in
Bastrop, the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team will move its
base of operations into the Bastrop community. This will make the
resources of the team more accessible to the public, as well as to
those who are currently operating shelters for animals found in the
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 - As the rest of the nation pauses to
remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001, Dr. Wesley Bissett,
assistant professor of large animal clinical sciences at Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
and director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET),
and his team also took time this morning to remember the heroes
from that day before returning to the work at hand - caring for the
animal victims of the Bastrop wildfire.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2011 - The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team
is continuing their response effort in Bastrop, and have now moved
their base of operations closer to the front line on the southeast
side of the community. Their continuing mission is providing
support and care for search and rescue dogs belonging to Texas Task
Force-1, as well as triage for animals brought in from areas that
have been cleared for animal control officials to enter.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 - As more area becomes accessible to
responders in Bastrop County, the number of animals arriving at the
Veterinary Emergency Team triage center continues to increase.
Beginning last night and continuing this morning, VET members are
working to expand the size of their operational base to accommodate
the animals that are brought in by animal control officials.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 - After an initial assessment yesterday with
Texas Animal Health Commission officials, members of the Veterinary
Emergency Team returned to Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to bring in additional personnel
and equipment to respond to the urgent needs of animal injuries in
the wake of the Bastrop wildfire.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 - At the request of Texas Task Force-1
(TTF-1), a component of the Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) at the
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences (CVM) has deployed to the Bastrop wildfires Wednesday
morning. Drs. Lisa Howe and Philippa Sprake; veterinary technicians
Dana Whitaker, Karin Ponder and Lessa Block; and senior veterinary
students John Williams and Jaci Carriker joined TTF-1 to provide
veterinary support for the task force's search and rescue dogs.