Prepare Horses, Livestock, and Pets for Bushfires

With bushfires bruning across parts of New South Wales, Australia, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is warning of serious impacts of bushfires on Australian wildlife and pets.

Robert Johnson, BVSc, MACVSc, CertZooMed, BA, pet and wildlife expert from the AVA, said that with so many Australians living in bushfire zones it’s critical that they are prepared in an emergency and animal owners should include their pets in any emergency plans.

“Planning is the key and can not only help save human lives but also save pets’ lives,” he said. “Put together an emergency kit for your animals with lots of … food and water in spill-proof containers.

“If you become separated from your pet in an emergency evacuation advise local vets, animal welfare shelters, and rescue organizations; it’s crucial that your pet is microchipped and registered with the local council to make it easier to be re-united in an emergency,” he said.

Fires don’t just threaten people, their homes, pets and livestock, but the wildlife that make their homes in bushes, hollow logs, trees, and underground.

“While it’s absolutely tragic when wildlife is destroyed or injured in a bushfire it’s important not to put your own life at risk when rescuing an animal," Johnson said. “Extra care should be taken with venomous or aggressive animals. If you find injured or orphaned wildlife, call your nearest wildlife rescue organization or local vet."

Veterinarians across fire affected areas are working with wildlife rescue groups, and treating pets and wildlife in the aftermath of the fires.

More information on protecting horses, livestock, and pets in natural disasters is available on the AVA website.

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