Veterinary Team (VMAT-2) Update Sept. 9, Morning

Today the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team 2 (VMAT2) is building a field hospital in Gulfport, Miss., area about 40 minutes away from Keasler Air Base where it is staying.

We've seen very few cases of acute trauma in the Mississippi area. Skin problems are the most common ailment. All surgeries are referred to local clinics to prevent VMAT from taking their local business. VMAT members are doing mostly triage and acting as a clearinghouse. Mostly dogs and cats, a few horses, dead pelicans, and a pot belly pig.

Livestock has been taking care of themselves. There's plenty of grass and water available. Those who get grain aren't getting it now, but are doing well on grass. VMAT teams will be providing dewormers and other preventative measures for livestock and horses.  

We're trying to get vaccinations for dogs and cats; the basics at least will be available very soon.  Many companies are donating medications, supplies, food, etc.

A major job of our folks is distribution of food and supplies and litter to affected persons in this area since all the stores that normally provide that are gone.

Just about every branch of the armed forces is here working together on base and in the effort. Very good teamwork is happening, and our folks report they are learning a lot about running convoys, logistics issues, and administrative issues. Communication with the outside is difficult; we need to look at a possible satellite system thru FEMA.

National vet teams and VMAT teams have cleared out at least 600 animals, probably 30% are alive and out of shelters and facilities. Currently they are collocated with HSUS. The way the flow of newly discovered animals works is that the Army Reserves teams are finding live animals, giving that information to VMAT (whose scope does not include live rescue), who pass the info to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who pick them up.

Apparently the most interesting game in town is to watch the personalities develop and surface the real persons living there. Two weeks in the field will do that! The real leadership inside each one of us just screaming to get out!

We are very proud of our folks and thrilled to see them working so hard to contribute to the effort. 

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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