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LSU veterinary hospital stays prepared through Hurricane Isaac

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Veterinary teaching hospital continued to receive emergency cases throughout the storm.

Throughout Hurricane Isaac, the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital remained open and continued to see emergency cases for the duration of the storm.

LeeAnn Eddleman, CVT, VTS (ECC), director of nursing at LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, told DVM Newsmagazine that even during the heart of the storm and unsafe weather conditions, pet owners were braving the wind and rain to bring their pets in for emergencies—and the hospital was well-prepared.

Eddleman says the hospital team has a strict protocol it follows during emergency weather situations—usually hurricanes in the Baton Rouge area—to help the hospital run smoothly during the stormy weather. "It's always a little hectic before the storm hits because no one knows what will happen or when it will happen," Eddleman says. "That week, we were just trying to guess where the storm was, which is hard."

The hospital designates three teams to staff the hospital during storms, which switch every year so people are working different shifts. The "ride-out" team comes in before conditions are too unsafe and stays until winds are down to 35 mph, when the second response team comes in for 24 hours, followed by the last phase of workers.

Students receiving instruction: During Hurricane Isaac, students at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine took advantage of the opportunity to learn about and care for displaced squirrels. (Photos courtesy of Ginger Guttner)

Eddleman says the hospital always keeps a stock of supplies to last a couple of days, so they had no problem taking in emergency cases during the storm.

The LSU Wildlife Hospital took in 200 to 250 squirrels during the storm, says Tom Tully, DVM, MS, DABVP. "This isn't the first time this has happened, so we were prepared," Tully says.

The hospital prepares for an increase in squirrels this time of year because of the frequent storms and the fact that it's "baby season." The staff works to make sure there's enough holding space and people willing to take care of the squirrels, Tully says. Students step up to volunteer their time and use this opportunity as a learning experience.

"We were thankful that the storm itself wasn't worse than it was," Tully says. "Faculty, students and administrators responded in an excellent manner to the storm and preparation."

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