Guest Post: a veterinary perspective of disaster preparedness

Do you know how your local authorities would help your pets in times of a disaster? Dr Riggs talks about the PETS Act and how you can take some minimal steps to be prepared should something happen in your area.


It seems we now live in a world of the ever present disasters. (I always wonder, though. if the world has really gotten worse or is it that now we have a million cable news channels, reporting everything, as it happens…..But I digress.) Today, there are currently 5,000 fire fighters fighting some 10 huge wildfires in California. The California fires have burned twice as much acres over last year and the Santa Anna winds, which annually, fan these fires and spreads them, have not hit this year.

I was in San Diego five years ago during such a fire. It started as a small brush fire and due to the Santa Ana winds, the fire jumped highways and caused a massive fire, large enough to actually turn the downtown sky a red color. Suddenly many people and their pets were misplaced from their homes.

Hurricane Katrina was a disaster not only in the natural sense of the word, with its devastation, but also in the way, it showed how ill prepared we were. The events of 9/11 have changed our world forever and we are all anxious about the next Boston marathon attack.

We know there will be more fires, more hurricanes, more flooding, earthquakes and unfortunately more acts of terror. We need to be prepared, not only for our well-being, but also our pets.

Before Katrina, many did not think about the safe evacuation and housing of victim’s pets. Katrina brought to light the strength of the human animal bond. Many people would refuse to evacuate without their pets, and chose to stay in their house and in danger’s way. Have you ever thought how devastating it would be to leave you pets in danger as you are rescued? I could not do it.

As a direct result of Katrina, the PETS act was established. The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS)” was a bi-partisan initiative in the United States House of Representatives to require states seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to accommodate pets and service animals in their plans for evacuating residents facing disasters”. This act requires state and local authorities to include how they accommodate pets, along with service animals, in the event of a disaster. (Download PLAW-109publ308 for a copy of the act.)

Katrina left some 8,000 pets stranded, many of whom were subsequently rescued and taken to temporary shelters. Most were never claimed by their owners, and were transported to all corners of the country to be adopted to other families. These horrible circumstances shows the importance of the identification chips for all your pets. Even for those who are inside pets, in a natural disaster, they often become outside pets. These inexpensive microchips are implanted under the skin and may be your only chance to be reunited with your pet. So as the Boy Scouts always say…..”Be Prepared”.

In addition, make sure your animals are always up to date on vaccines because of the increase chance of disease transmission in disasters such as flooding and also in kennel situations with animals of unknown vaccination history. Get your animals micro chipped, it is often your only chance to be reunited with your pets.

Finally, contact the authorities in your area to learn what procedures are in place for you and you pets. Do it now while things are calm and no disasters are on the way.

Related Posts

August is Disaster Preparedness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Disaster Preparedness
Guest Post: a veterinary perspective of disaster preparedness

Other posts by Dr Riggs

Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Disaster Preparedness

Today’s topic is disaster preparedness for pets, something to think about as fires rage, hurricanes threaten, and earthquakes lurk.

Our monthly podcast starts with Dr Patrick Mahaney talking about disasters he has had to face in his practice followed by these questions:

  1. Adrienne: could you touch on some of the common disasters encountered in regional areas of the country and perhaps some uncommon ones that people may not think of or are aware of?
  2. Kate: I'm guessing we should have a plan in place in case of disaster for our pets... what would that plan look like?
  3. Adrienne (who has a volunteer search and rescue dog): could you outline the necessary items to be included in a disaster preparedness kit: 
    • What things you will need to care for your pet in the event of a disaster or if you
      would need to evacuate (floods, fires, hurricanes, etc.) 
    • What types of contact information and identification for the pet do you need in case
      you should become separated. 
    • Also what the length of time the kit should cover and how often it should be
      updated/changed?
  4. Katie: During Sandy, those who didn't evacuate were forced to leave their pets behind for days, some a week or more, until the barrier island reopened. While we all know having evacuated sooner could have avoided the issue, are there any suggestions on what to do in that event to
    help keep your pet safe until you can return?

 Click on the link below for the podcast.

 

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney disaster preparedness 2013

Links Mentioned:

Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster in Japan Reinforces Need for Global Pet Emergency Preparedness
Pet-Pac Survival Packs

Dr Mahaney also recommends the following items for your own pet first aid kit:

  1. Pet health information in waterproof container/bag 
  2. Vaccination (Rabies) status, list of medications, current photo, veterinarian/hospital, etc.
  3. Nylon leash attached to carabiner
  4. Surgical mask and clear eye shields- to protect your face and eyes
  5. Absorbent gauze pads and roll (can be used as tourniquet)
  6. Sterile, non-stick gauze pads
  7. Surgery/adhesive tape
  8. Bandage scissors (blunt ended) and scalpel blade
  9. Forceps (“tweezers”)-to remove pieces of foreign material (splinter, etc.), or insects (ticks, etc.) that may get lodged in the body 
  10. Tongue depressors
  11. Muzzle or cloth strip
  12. Rubber (latex) and thick leather gloves
  13. Blanket or sheet- mylar foil, cloth, etc
  14. Large and heavy-duty plastic bag
  15. Thermometer- digital, flexible, can be lubricated with antimicrobial ointment for rectal temperature determination
  16. Penlight or small flashlight- to look into the eyes to determine the pupillary light response (PLR) or looking into other cavities (mouth, etc.)
  17. Sterile water or saline/eye irrigating solution- for flushing out the eyes, nose, or a skin wound.
  18. Non-stinging antiseptic solution (like Chlorhexidine 2-4 % solution)
  19. Rubbing alcohol pads or liquid
  20. Antimicrobial ointment (bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B for bacteria +/- miconazole for yeast)- for puncture wounds, cuts, and scraped
  21. Anti-histamine tablets and ointment (Diphenhydramine HCl= Benadryl 25mg tablet or ointment)- for suspected allergic reactions, such as environmental/seasonal allergies or bees stings
  22. EpiPen Jr (Epinephrine 0.15mg)- for severe allergic reactions, such as bee stings
  23. Corn syrup, honey, or other simple sugar liquid- for suspected hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  24. A pet carrier to contain the contents of the kit in an easily transportable format

Related Posts

August is Disaster Preparedness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Disaster Preparedness

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis atVeterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA.

Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2013 through Havenhurst Books



August is Disaster Preparedness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

There are some disasters you can prepare for such as hurricanes, where you may have days to get ready, forest fires where you might have a few hours to prepare, and tornadoes, that might afford 20 minutes or so of warning. And there are some that come totally unannounced such as earthquakes or a house fire. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about all of this.

Either way, are you prepared to deal with a disaster? And just as important, is your pet prepared?

We're going to focus on how to get prepared and what you need in the event of a disaster. Let's hope we never have to use this information, but just like pet insurance, it will be there when you need it the most.

 



Embrace in the news

We've had a lot of excellent press coverage at Embrace lately. Some of the good coverage because of our recent change in ownership, and some of it just because.

Our recent change in ownership is our most exciting update since we changed our underwriter to American Modern Insurance a year ago.

Before I get into details of the transaction, the bottom line is that:

  • Embrace is staying and growing in northeast Ohio,
  • we are remaining independent from other insurance organizations, and
  • we will continue to provide the great Embrace experience you've come to know from us. Nothing is going to change that way.

As for details, there's a great Plain Dealer article on the transaction "Embrace Pet Insurance Finds Success Keeping Tails Wagging". A private investor with deep experience in the insurance world, Beauvest (US), acquired all the shares of Embrace except for those belonging to me (Laura Bennett) and Alex Krooglik (we're the co-founders). Once that was complete, five of the original investors bought back in, indicating their continued confidence in Embrace and Alex and me (which was very much appreciated by all of us.)

So, for Alex and me, we are still as invested in Embrace as we were before (no Tesla for me this time around!) and we will continue to run Embrace as we have all these years. We also have a very long-term investor who has no particular time horizon for this investment. It's as perfect as it could have been.

The other part of the transaction is that we locked in our underwriting partnership with American Modern for another 5 years, which I am absolutely delighted about. Not only does that give me great comfort that I won't be looking for another underwriter any time soon, but also, the American Modern folks are a great group of guys and gals backed by the solid support of their owner, Munich Re, the largest reinsurance company in the world.

It's tough to say goodbye to Jumpstart, who got us off the ground, and NCT Ventures, who invested a significant sum back in October 2008 during one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. Both organizations have supported us for many years and we would not be here without them. 

Having said that, I will continue to be very active with Jumpstart, encouraging and supporting other entrepreneurs in northeast Ohio. Personally, I'm delighted that the proceeds from Jumpstart's investment in Embrace will go towards other new companies in the area. Got to love that flywheel!

As for that other press we've been getting:

  • COSE magazine profiled Embrace along with two other local entrepreneurial companies, highlighting the exciting entrepreneurial environment here in NEO (and I got to be on the cover - woohoo!)
  • Scene Magazine did an extensive article on entrepreneurship in Cleveland in the article "Startup City" mentioning Embrace as well
  • Embrace was recently listed as one of 20 Cool Tech Companies in Cleveland
  • I recently participated in a Jumpstart podcast "For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs" discussing the importance of culture and opportunities created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, many of which are focused on peer networking and education.

Definitely exciting times! Onwards and upwards.

Your Chief Embracer,

Laura Bennett



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Summer Dangers

I was noticing a friend posting on her facebook page that the high for the day was going to be 106 degrees where she lives. That sounds awful and certainly not something humans should be out in, let
alone dogs. With temperature being the most obvious danger to both dogs and cats, Dr Patrick talks about the summer issues other than heat he sees in his practice.

He also answerssome questions from our Embracers, prefaced with a comment from Adrienne:

"One thing we always saw a lot of at the emergency clinic was heat related problems - heat stroke, etc.  We often found that people didn't think it was too hot or too much exercise/playing/hiking for
their pet, especially if the pet was overweight and then the pet would get overheated quickly." So if it's too hot for you wearing a coat, it certainly is too hot for your dog.

  1. Kate: Is there some sort of a guide for how long it's acceptable for dogs to be outside in the heat? Maybe based on size or breed or age? For those without central AC, what's a comfortable temperature range for cats and dogs while inside?
  2. Katie: Is pool water bad for dogs? I always try and stop my dog Captain from drinking it but he never fails to have his share!
  3. Laura: When it rains for a few days the yard sprouts mushrooms like a Smurf village and the dogs start eating them before I can act fast enough.  How dangerous are these? 
  4. Christine: My question is about dry drowning.  With summer being here, the pools and hoses are out. My dog loves to chase the hose and bite the water but also to play in his kiddie pool.  Dry drowning is rare but it can happen. How does it happen and how do you let your dogs have fun in the water safely?
  5. Laura: when should you go to the vet if one of the following should occur: insect stings; skunk spraying; close encounter with a toad; snake bite.

Click on the link below for the podcast audio.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney summer dangers 2013


Related Posts

July is hot topics and summer pet dangers month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: my veterinarian is so expensive!
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Summer Dangers

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis atVeterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. 

Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2013 through Havenhurst Books





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