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Wildfires are a serious and expanding threat in western North America, and wildfire encroachment on human populations leads to widespread evacuation and emergency housing operations for residents and their companion animals and livestock. Veterinarians are frequently part of wildfire response efforts and are called upon to assist in rescue, evacuation, and emergency housing operations as well as to provide medical care for evacuated animals. Although veterinarians are likely familiar with the principles of transporting and housing terrestrial animals, emergency response for aquatic companion animals presents unique logistic challenges. Veterinarians familiar with aquatic animal evacuation, housing, and care prior to a wildfire response can extend the scope of disaster recovery. This report offers general guidance for rescuing, evacuating, housing, and caring for aquatic animals in the wake of a wildfire.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objectives

To determine characteristics of working dogs used during the disaster response after the bombing in Oklahoma City and risk factors for injuries and illnesses of those dogs, and to document recommendations for future disaster responses.

Design

Survey.

Study Population

Information for 74 working dogs used at the bombing site.

Procedures

Dog handlers were identified and asked to complete a questionnaire. Questions were asked about the training and use of each dog, use of paw protection, injuries and illnesses incurred, possible effects after completion of duty at Oklahoma City, and handler's experience.

Results

Data were obtained for all 74 dogs used at the site. Handlers of 69 of 74 (93%) dogs responded. The dogs had been extensively trained and were used 491 dog-days at the site, with 46 dogs used in search, 14 in patrol, 12 in explosive-detection duty, and 2 in search/patrol. Fifteen (22%) dogs became ill. Nineteen (28%) dogs incurred 20 injuries. Footpad injuries constituted 18 of the injuries. Only 16 of 69 (23%) dogs were provided with paw protection. Dogs were more likely to be injured when they were used in a search capacity, were used during the first 2 days after the bombing, were German Shepherd Dogs, or were older.

Clinical Implications

Although working in a highrisk environment, injuries to dogs were few, and most were minor. Specific recommendations could facilitate use of dogs in disaster situations and improve safety for those dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212: 1202–1207)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

a veterinary incident might include animal welfare or epidemiology. The logistics section provides the resources, services, and support necessary for the execution of the plan, such as, for example, a procurement unit to obtain medical supplies. The

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association