Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team Deploys In Response To East Texas Floods

Story by Rachel Knight, VMBS Communications

Eight people in front of the VET trailer
The VET team deployed to East Texas on Wednesday, May 15.
Photo by Karis Olson ‘25, School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Four members of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) and four future Aggie veterinarians on the VET rotation have deployed to East Texas in response to historic river flooding affecting thousands of people and animals. The already soaked area is expected to receive additional rainfall on Thursday, prompting the federal Weather Prediction Center to warn of a high risk of excessive rainfall for the eastern portion of the state.

The team, which deployed Wednesday afternoon to Coldspring, will play a vital supporting role in providing veterinary medical care to companion animals housed together with their families at a local emergency shelter. The team immediately began examining and administering care to the 39 dogs and 13 cats in the shelter.

“Animal shelters play a vital role in the recovery efforts during and after disasters,” said Dr. Deb Zoran, VET director. “They provide shelter for those who’ve been displaced from their homes or lost during the storm and offer families the chance to reunite with their beloved animals and begin the healing process together.”

The VET rotation visits counties around the state to help them develop emergency animal shelter plans for all types of hazards, including flood events such as this one. As a result, Zoran said, the team is well-prepared to assist in animal shelter care and in recovery efforts in a community. 

“All flood-related disasters are different, but whether they are caused by heavy rain, overflowing rivers or hurricanes, it’s important to remember the basics of responding to water-related disasters,” Zoran said. “We know that in many of these events, the animals evacuated or rescued have been in the floodwater and so may be injured and require medical care, or may simply have been exposed to the pollutants and bacteria in the water. This means they need decontamination for the protection and safety of their owners and caregivers as well as themselves and other animals.”

Four students in front of the VET trailer
Four veterinary students deployed with the VET.
Photo by Alyssa Moore ‘27, School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

The VET has developed protocols to assist communities in removing floodwater contaminants from dogs using decontamination guidelines.

“People impacted by disasters are comforted by knowing there is a safe place for them and their animals in their community,” Zoran said. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve our fellow Texans and to provide opportunities for our fourth-year veterinary students to work alongside our team to assist people and their animals ” Zoran said. “Our response efforts wouldn’t be possible without the support we receive from our donors, who share our passion for supporting communities in need.”

The VET is the largest, most sophisticated team of its kind in the country with members including faculty, staff and students from the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as well as volunteers from the veterinary profession and beyond.

To learn more about the VET, visit vetmed.tamu.edu/VET, and to support the VET on this deployment, visit tx.ag/SupportTheVET.

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For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216


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