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Veterinary Emergency Team Continues Efforts in Bastrop


SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 - *UPDATE* Veterinary Emergency Team Concludes Deployment

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 alongside."

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 serve them."

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VET Trucks and Trailers

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 need.

How You Can Help

Donate to the Veterinary Emergency Response Team.

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.

Previous Updates


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.

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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.

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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 affected area.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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