Still Little Information on Southern Tornadoes' Impact on Area Equines

More than 24 hours after the tornado outbreak touched the South, there was still little news about the twisters' impact on horses residing in the affected areas.

"The focus right now is cleaning up and helping the people," explained Hui-Chu Lin, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVA, chief of the equine section at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

According to Lin, no horses injured by the tornadoes have presented to their College of Veterinary Medicine thus far. Nonetheless, Lin assures the Alabama horse community that she and her team are prepared to receive horses.

"Arrangements have been made and if horses come in, we will be able to assess and treat them," assured Lin.

The lack of news is, at least in part, attributed to the fact that some horses presumably ran away during the storm and have yet to be recovered.

"There is a lot of confusion right now," said Matt Pickett of Picketts Feed in Anniston, Ala.

Pickett witnessed the devastating aftermath of Thursday's tornado at 5W Ranch, which was decimated by the storm.

"I was out at 5W yesterday and they only lost 2 horses, but sent another 8 to the veterinary clinic," added Pickett. "They have everything pretty much under control, but they have a lot of clean-up to do and they've lost half their barn."

Cindy McCall, , PhD, equine extension specialist from the Alabama Extension Cooperative System confirmed that 5W Ranch was very hard-hit, but even after the Alabama Horse Council meeting last night, little is known about the overall impact of the tornado outbreak on the local horse population.

"It is still pretty early to tell," McCall said. will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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