Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Response Team receives $10,000

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NAVC Gives awarded the team these funds for its Smokehouse Creek fire response

Members of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team on deployment in Canadian, Texas, on March 3, 2024. (Image courtesy of Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing & Communications)

Members of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team on deployment in Canadian, Texas, on March 3, 2024. (Image courtesy of Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing & Communications)

The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) announced that a 2024 award recipient for NAVC Gives is Texas A&M’s Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VET). The team has received $10,000 for its work responding to the historic Smokehouse Creek fire in the Texas Panhandle as well as its continued dedication to veterinary education.

"The Smokehouse Creek fire caused unimaginable injury and pain to farm and companion animals across the Panhandle," said Gene O'Neill, NAVC CEO, in an organizational release.1 "Texas A&M VET sprang into action during a historic moment, providing critical services for affected animals and support for the community. Their work and commitment capture the spirit and intent of NAVC Gives to recognize those who are making a profound difference in the lives of veterinary professionals and animals."

According to the release, the Smokehouse Creek fire began on February 26, 2024, and burned over 1 million acres of land, making it the largest fire in the history of Texas.1 Days after the fire started, the Texas A&M VET team deployed 36 Texas A&M faculty, staff, and students to 5 counties within the region.2

"What we tended to see were the animals that had escaped the fire, but maybe were burned and needed burn care...The fire burned through fences. So, these animals that escaped the fire were found in canyons or were found running loose," said Deb Zoran, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, VET director, in an interview with dvm360®.

The deployed team checked 672 cattle and performed exams on 271 animals such as cats, cattle, dogs, horses, and goats. The affected animals were treated for burns, hoof issues, and respiratory issues caused by smoke inhalation, and provided nutritional support for calves who lost their mothers.2

"Thanks to the generosity of organizations like NAVC Gives, the Texas A&M VET is able to respond quickly and assist the animals and people impacted when disaster strikes," Zoran said, in the release.1 "Our donors also empower us to train the next generation of veterinarians — who are more likely to serve a community affected by a disaster than generations before them — in both disaster preparedness and response. The VET is incredibly thankful for NAVC Gives' support, which has empowered us in our service and teaching missions."

Along with this deployment, the VET team has been deployed 26 times—including 19 in Texas—to help animals affected by wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes across the United States.3 VET team was officially formed in 2010 by the rest of the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to help be prepared for future disasters. The team also uses these deployments as a unique learning opportunity for students deployed through first-hand experience in emergency response and management.

Reference

  1. NAVC Gives Awards $10,000 to Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Response Team for Smokehouse Creek Fire Response. News release. North American Veterinary Community (NAVC). April 17, 2024. Accessed April 17, 2024. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/navc-gives-awards-10-000-to-texas-am-veterinary-emergency-response-team-for-smokehouse-creek-fire-response-302119592.html
  2. Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team Returns From Deployment To Smokehouse Creek Fire. Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. March 11, 2024. Accessed April 17, 2024. https://today.tamu.edu/2024/03/11/texas-am-veterinary-emergency-team-returns-from-deployment-to-smokehouse-creek-fire/
  3. Coppock K. Texas A&M veterinary team is helping animals affected by wildfires. dvm360. Published February 29, 2024. Accessed April 17, 2024. https://www.dvm360.com/view/veterinary-team-deploys-to-help-animals-affected-by-texas-wildfires
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