June 2nd, 2015
   TAHC Urges Livestock and Pet Owners to Protect Their Animals Before Disaster Strikes


AUSTIN – With the rain, flooding and tornados across our state, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) the state’s lead agency for all animal issues during disasters, reminds Texans that the Atlantic hurricane season began Monday, June 1 and continues through November 30.  Jeff Turner, TAHC Emergency Management Director stated, “Tropical storm systems present one of the most severe threats to animals – and not just those along the coast.  As these systems move inland, they bring torrential rains, flooding, high winds and tornados.”  These events can certainly impact animal health and welfare so taking steps now to prepare may prevent or minimize the impact on animal health and property damage.  Now is the time to take steps to prepare your livestock, poultry and pets before disaster strikes.

All animals are vulnerable to issues associated with torrential rains and floods.  “Behind every animal disaster is a human disaster due to the special relationship people develop with their animal s, whether they are livestock or pets,” said Dr. T.R. Lansford, TAHC Assistant Executive Director.  Such events can easily impact both animal and human health. Proper planning and preparedness are key in preventing or minimizing the loss of livestock and pets. Stay informed and protect your livestock and pets against potential severe weather threats.

Make plans for your livestock and pets in case you need to evacuate your home or ranch. Remember that disasters often displace animals left behind so it is imperative that you have a way to identify your animal(s). Ear tags, microchips, brands, contact information attached to halters/collars, and pictures of you with your animal are good ways to prove ownership after a disaster.

In addition to your personal disaster kit, put together supplies that may be needed for your livestock/pets.

A livestock/pet disaster kit may include:

* A waterproof container in which to store feed and equipment

* A one week supply of feed

* A one week supply of water

* Copies of veterinary records, breed registry and any paperwork proving ownership

* An emergency contact list

* First aid kit

* Detailed diet and medication instructions

* Maps of local area with possible evacuation routes

The TAHC is the State’s lead agency for all animal issues during disasters. The TAHC coordinates planning and training activities with local jurisdictions, state and federal agencies, industry partners, and non-governmental organizations, to ensure the state’s livestock and poultry industries, and companion, service and assistive animal owners are prepared.

In addition to planning activities, the TAHC assists local jurisdictions with response issues like conducting animal search and rescue operations, animal identification, damage assessments; addressing animal care, evacuation, and sheltering; and coordinating carcass disposal activities through partnerships with stakeholders like the veterinary community, other state agencies, and industry groups. The TAHC also offers specialized response capabilities like the Horseback Emergency Response Team.

For more information on how to protect your livestock when a disaster occurs, read the TAHC brochure, Protecting Livestock When Disaster Strikes at .

For more information on how to protect your companion, service, and assistive animals please visit:





June 14th, 2013

No one is exempt from disaster.  Every day tornadoes, floods, and fires devastate families.  Now that hurricane season has arrived, the possibility that we may once again need to evacuate exists.  Any preparation or evacuation plan should include your pets.  As many of you can recall, many pets became lost or even died during the last evacuation due to poor preparation on the part of the owners.  Following are a few tips to get you and your four-legged friends ready in case of another evacuation.  Now is an excellent opportunity to ensure your family will be prepared.

DO be familiar with each type of disaster that may affect your area.  While people in this area usually experience hurricane disasters, there are many other situations that can occur such as gas leaks, plant explosions and wild fires just to name a few.  Oftentimes people evacuate due to floods, hurricanes, or gas leaks, thinking it will only be for a short time.  However, one can never predict when this “short time” will become weeks or months.  Therefore it is best to prepare in advance

DO develop an evacuation plan for your family and your animals and take your animals with you whenever possible.

DO keep written directions to your home near the phone.  This will help you tell emergency personnel how to get to your home if you are in a state of panic or will help your children give proper directions if they are home alone when disaster strikes.

DO identify alternate sources of food and water. It is wise to stock up on bottled water and non-perishable foods in case you are stuck at home with no power for a period of time.

DO have a backup generator

DO keep all vehicles and trailers well maintained and full of gas

DO keep emergency cash on hand

DO prearrange a meeting site for family outside your immediate area.

DO designate a willing and reliable neighbor to tend to things if disaster strikes when you’re not home

DO keep some type of identification on each animal such as a tag or microchip.  Tags should include your name, address, and phone number and, if possible the name, address, and phone number of your veterinarian. Microchips contain a unique number that is registered to each pet so its owner can be located in case the pet is lost.

DO keep copies of your pets’ vaccination records on hand as well as a two-week supply of pet food and any medications your pet may be on.

DO keep pet carriers, collars and leashes handy.

DO know where the gathering location is for animals lost during a disaster.  If your pet is lost, you can check the temporary shelter afterwards for it.

DO assemble an animal evacuation kit as follows:

Small animal evacuation kit:

Copy of medical records

Proof of ownership including copies of vaccination certificates, registration papers, adoption papers, and pictures

List of emergency contacts

Food and water (2 week supply), spoon, can opener, nonspill dishes

Any medications the pet is on (2 week supply)

Feeding and medication instructions

Radio, flashlight and batteries


Leash, collar, and/or harness

Catch gloves and muzzles

Familiar items such as favorite toys, blankets, etc

First aid kit (consult your veterinarian)

Litter pan and litter for cats

Local maps or GPS

Newspapers, paper towels, trash bags

Tie-out stakes


Large animal evacuation kit:

Copy of medical records

Proof of ownership including copies of registration papers, test papers (e.g. Coggins, TB), and pictures

List of emergency contacts

Food and water (3-7 day supply)

Any medications the animal is on (2 week supply)

Feeding and medication instructions

Radio, flashlight and batteries



Duct tape

First aid kit (consult your veterinarian)

Fly spray

Heavy gloves

Hoof knife, hoof pick, hoof nippers, rasp

Sharp, all-purpose knife

Leg wraps

Local maps or GPS

Halters and lead ropes, rope/lariat, twitch, nose lead

Tie-out stakes

Paper towels, trash bags

Plastic trash cans with lids



Feed and water buckets

Wire cutters

DO keep evacuation kits in an easy-to-carry, waterproof container and stored in an easily accessible location out of temperature extremes.

DO replace food, water, and medications as often as necessary to maintain their quality.

DO call ahead to make arrangements for housing of yourself and your animals if you have a specific evacuation destination in mind.


DO NOT wait until it’s too late. Plan ahead and be prepared in advance.

DO NOT wait until hurricane warnings are posted to start putting together your evacuation kits.  By then it will be too late.  As with the last hurricane, stores sold out of pet carriers, leashes, cat litter and food days before people began evacuating.

DO NOT wait to fill your gas tank.  Again, gas stations sold out several days prior to the hurricane’s arrival.  When you fill your tank, include extra gas cans to refill.  Gas stations may not be able to receive fuel for some time post-disaster.

DO NOT leave your animals behind.  Many resources are available to aid owners in relocating their pets and livestock for disasters.  Contact your local veterinarian, county offices, or Texas Animal Health Commission for assistance.

DO NOT put off visiting your veterinarian to update your pets’ vaccinations, obtain a copy of their health records, and stock up on medications.  Remember, they may be evacuating as well so animal clinics may be closed several days before an anticipated disaster.

Keep in mind, preparedness is the key to a safe and successful evacuation.  Plan ahead and TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU!  They may not survive on their own.

Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze…and hunker down!





Update on West, TX / Devastation in Moore, OK

May 22nd, 2013

“Animals are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.”  -Henry Beston

Things have been a little hectic in the world lately.  Hard to think that the last blog I wrote not so long ago was about the tragedy in West, Texas and the efforts being made there to help my four-legged friends.

I am happy to report that efforts there are going well.  According to Dr. Bissett, head of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), the animals being presented at this time have fewer and less severe injuries.  The VET, West Animal Clinic, and the Waco Humane Society are working in conjunction to aid lost and injured animals.  But sadly many pets are still missing.  Two websites have been dedicated to assisting owners in finding their lost pets.  These are the Waco Humane Society’s Facebook page and, where photos and lists of animals that have been found are posted.

Now we are once again faced with devastation and sadness as Moore, Oklahoma was all but wiped out by a colossal tornado.  Many, many families have been torn apart as people, children and pets were lost or are still missing.  The Orr Family Farm which includes Celestial Acres sports training facility took a direct hit.  Many horses were killed and many more had to be euthanized due to serious injury.  Out of the facility which was able to house about 100 horses, only 34 survived.

Dr. Dustin Brown from Animal Medical Center – Midwest City has made several trips to Moore to offer veterinary support.  He has been aiding Orr Farms as well as the multitude of dogs and cats that were injured.  According to Brown, equine fatalities may exceed 50 and scores of animals are still unaccounted for.

If you would like to help in the efforts to aid the animals injured or displaced by the Moore tornado you may go to one of these websites:

Animal Resource Center in Oklahoma City

Central Oklahoma Humane Society


Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Services

If you’d like to volunteer to help you can contact the City of Oklahoma City Department of Animal Welfare at (405) 297-3100.

Pet parents looking for their lost pets may go to this website:

And as hard as it may be during these difficult times, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!

Veterinarians To The Rescue

April 24th, 2013

In light of the horrific events in West, Texas, I was pleased and proud to read an article about local veterinarians and veterinary students who deployed immediately to the scene of the disaster to lend a hand.

At 3:30am on April 18, Dr. Wesley Bissett of Texas A&M University and his team of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and support staff were summoned to the site of the explosion that devastated the small community.  The Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) was on site to provide medical care for the search and rescue dogs as well as any animals injured by the blast.  At first report no animals had been presented for treatment.  However, Dr. Bissett says that is not uncommon.  As time goes by the lost and injured animals will begin to appear.

A local veterinary clinic as well as the Waco Humane Society were also aiding the effort by taking in wounded or lost animals, treating them and holding them until they could be reunited with their families.

Fortunately the curriculum at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine includes a course on emergency response.  Dr. Bissett said he had been contacted by many students volunteering to help with the effort.

The team was expected to be at the blast site for about three days, but said they would stay until no longer needed.

Our prayers go out to the victims of this disaster and the brave and kind people – and animals – who stepped up to help.

Remember, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!