The looming threat of Hurricane Florence is a great early reminder that hurricane season is fully upon us. There is plenty we could and should do to ready our homes and families, pets being a part of that equation. Both Hurricanes Matthew and Irma sparked widespread evacuations throughout the Lowcounty in 2016 and 2017. In the days prior, our practice was overwhelmed with urgent last minute calls to update vaccines, fill anxiety medication, and send records for travel and boarding.
This year, take "Vet Visit" off your frenzied to do list prior to evacuation and check your wellness due dates now. You can review your pet's exam and vaccine status anytime by logging into your ePetHealth Portal using the email address we have on file and scrolling down to the reminders section. A copy can be printed by clicking "Print Pet ID Card" under your pet's photo and used as proof of vaccination.
Vaccine Requirements for Boarding
When hurricanes are threatening our coast, boarding facilities within a 300 mile radius fill to capacity quickly. Vaccines and other wellness requirements vary from one to the next, including:
Dogs - Rabies Vaccine, DHPP aka DAP Vaccine, and Bordetella Vaccine
(additional requirements could include an Influenza Vaccine, Fecal Parasite Screen, and/or Heartworm Test)
Cats - Rabies Vaccine, FVRCP aka HCP Vaccine
(additional requirements could include a Feline Leukemia Vaccine and/or Fecal Parasite Screen)
Medication for Storm and Travel Anxiety
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are available to help pets cope with the stressors of thunderstorms and lengthy car rides. These medications have varying effects on pets and finding the right drug and dosage sometimes requires a few attempts. If anxiety medication is something you feel your pet may need but has never taken before, we recommend contacting our office well in advance to allow for home trials.
As with administering vaccinations, dispensing/prescribing prescription medications requires a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) which is defined as having an exam with one of our doctors within the past 12 months. If you have fallen behind on wellness visits for any of your pets, now is the time to catch up!
Additional Evacuation/Shelter-in-Place Considerations
While we hope storms blow over with minimal damage and evacuations are lifted quickly, best practice is to prepare for extended time away from home and without local services. For pets this includes:
- Sufficient supply of food, water, litter, and chronic medications
- Easy access to crates, leashes, litter pans, and collars with ID tags
- Registered microchip with current contact information
- Copy of pertinent veterinary records
A more inclusive list of disaster preparedness guidelines can be found on the ASPCA website: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness
We aim to be a valuable resource for your family's pet-related needs. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can best serve you.