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Emergency preparedness list...

In Louisiana, we are either in hurricane season or preparing for a hurricane season!LSU's School ofVeterinary Medicine has a website that give you plenty of information on being prepared to protectyour companion animals, be it small animals orlivestock. See their helpful page at

When we encountered evacuees from Katrina, the two most pressing issues were that pets on special medications and/or diets were traveling without them, and that the owners had no access to their medical records for us to access to be able to dispense the medications they needed. Our response was to examine the pets and with the history provided to us by the owners, proceed as best we could.

In an effort to do better for our clients in future disasters that may befall our area, we have changed some of how we do day to day record keeping and back-up. We are now in process of going "paper-lite", which will put all of our records into our software program. Through scanning, the paper records will be entered under each pet, and then future entries will be made directly into the program. Daily backups both on tape, which are kept locally, and via the internet to a secure, out-of-state site, will allow us access to records even if the clinic or the computer system were to be destroyed.

Even with that said, it is a good idea to have a copy of your pet's medical record made prior to hurricane season, especially if your pet has any chronic medical conditions that may require attention while you are evacuated. Minimally, you should have your pet's vaccination records with you, as it is mandatory in shelters and to cross state lines to be current on rabies vaccination.

Other items you will want to have ready for a quick evacuation would include:

Vaccine record/health records for chronic illness

Heartworm prevention (and flea prevention is nice, too)

Other medications (insulin, heart meds, etc)

Special diets (especially if medically indicated or for exotics who may require foods that are hard to come by)

Collar and tags - the fasted way to retrieve a pet is external I.D., and having a picture is great.

Microchip information - If your pet is "chipped", know the number (enter it into your phone!)

Water (people require 1 gallon per person per day - be sure you have enough for everyone and every pet in the car)

Leashes and flight crates or wire cages

Towels and puppy "wee-wee" pads

A few toys

Medications for pets who don't travel well - Benadryl at 1/2 to 1 mg per pound can provide safe calming of a nervous pet.

Large animals such as horses will need:

Proof of a current Coggins test

Keep a picture with you in case you need it for I.D., and have the microchip number in your phone.

Buckets for water and feed

Water, feed and hay

Sound halters and leads

Chronic medications for any special conditions

Bandages and leg wraps

For other items and ideas, see our Equine Disaster page.

Under construction - more to come

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Ridgefield Animal Hospital


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