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*UPDATE* Texas A&M VET to Expand Operations in Bastrop

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.

"We are still seeing a large number of domestic animals such as dogs, cats, and horses," said Dr. Wesley Bissett, assistant professor of large animal clinical sciences and director of the VET. "We have also seen some livestock and are beginning to see some small wild animals."

Bissett noted that due to the location of this wildfire and the area that it is affecting, the team has been prepared to see all kinds of animals and provide triage services so that these animals can better receive the treatment and shelter they need.

"It has been a true team effort in dealing with the animal side of this response effort," said Bissett. "It is a distinct pleasure for our team of faculty, staff, and students to be able to work alongside such experienced and professional teams from the Texas Department of Emergency Management, the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas Task Force-1, the Travis County Animal Control team, and the Bastrop County Sherrif's Office, as well as the Livestock Control Officers of Bastrop County. We are glad that we are able to support their efforts through our service."

As the battle to contain the Bastrop County wildfire continues, Bissett and the members of the VET will continue evaluating and assessing the needs of not only the animals in the area, but the needs of VET members, with decisions potentially being made on the need to expand the size of the team and/or to rotate members into and out of the area.

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