Story by Aubrey Bloom
Fifteen members of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) and six Texas A&M AgriLife agents will be serving residents affected by Hurricane Laura, which is projected to make landfall along the Texas coast.
Team members will leave Bryan-College Station on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 27, to Jefferson County, Texas, where they have been asked to provide veterinary medical support to animals injured by the storm.
The support request was made by Jefferson County and was approved by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Hurricanes are among the threats that the VET plans for frequently, and while each hurricane presents unique challenges, VET director Dr. Wesley Bissett said there are some commonalities to how animals react in these situations.
“The reality is that virtually all disasters impact animals,” Bissett said. “Traumatic injuries and other medical issues resulting flood waters or storm surges are what we expect to see most with hurricanes. There also are always issues associated with the stress of what the animals will go through.
“The State of Texas, under the guidance of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Animal Health Commission, has developed a robust emergency support system, as we all recognize that we must provide for the entire family, including pets, while also protecting the health and well-being of agricultural animals,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic creates some added challenges for the team, but after deploying to Polk County earlier this year, the VET has experience in overcoming those challenges as well.
“COVID-19 certainly makes deployment more difficult; however, we just build on the protocols that our leadership have used to keep our Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences operating throughout this pandemic,” Bissett said. “We are fortunate that our entire university system is as committed to our health and well-being as it is to serving the State of Texas during difficult times.”
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; email@example.com; 979-862-4216