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VET Team Responds in Times of Disaster

Posted June 29, 2016

The beginning of June brought devastating floods and tornados to Texas. In crises like this, the Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) is trained to efficiently respond to the needs of animals in disasters. Members of the VET were deployed to Brazoria County in southeastern Texas in early June and treated animals affected by the flooding for about two weeks.

“While faculty and staff were here on campus attending to routine duties, the VET was on the front line helping the people and animals of Texas during this time of challenge and loss,” said Dr. Eleanor Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine. “Our VET students rotated to be with the flood victims, fulfilling the Texas A&M core value of selfless service.”

Special equipment like VET’s decontamination unit played a key role in treating animals affected by the flooding. The VET spent two weeks treating over 100 animals—including livestock, mice, cats, and dogs. Along with decontaminating animals that may have come into contact with toxic chemicals in the flood water, the team treated many other conditions, such as dehydration. The students who participated in the rotation gained valuable experience.

“Spending my time in Brazoria County was such an unforgettable experience. I gained so much knowledge in veterinary medicine from my time there,” said Heather Cook, a veterinary student at the CVM. “I performed physical examinations on dogs and cats and came up with my own diagnostic and treatment plan. I also talked with clients about spaying, neutering, and vaccinating their pets, as well as putting them on heartworm and flea and tick prevention.”

Members of Brazoria County welcomed the VET with open arms, donating food and water to the team and even volunteering to do their laundry. The VET’s tremendous efforts to help every furry flood victim did not go unnoticed.

“I felt extremely humbled and grateful that a community who had lost everything was still willing to donate their time to bring us snacks and cook us home cooked meals,” Cook said. “The people of Brazoria County did such a great job of making us feel comfortable and making sure we ate well for every single meal during our time there.”

“Our students have been outstanding. They have worked incredibly hard and have represented all of us so well,” said Wesley Bissett, director of the VET. “They, as always, make me think the future of our profession is bright. They have worked hard, invested thought, sweat, and tears in this. You should all be proud.”


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