Are you ready for it? The first winter storm is headed our way for Thursday, and like most of the first-storm panics, you can expect it to cause a mess around our area. Storm watches and advisories have already been issued covering most of the state in anticipation of the storm, which forecasters expect to bring anywhere from 2” – 4” of snow, with a chance for higher amounts in some areas. The bulk of the storm is expected to hit the area in the afternoon, and become strong quickly, lasting overnight in to early Friday morning. That means the Thursday afternoon and evening driving conditions are going to be quite nasty. Icy conditions will be a major concern as well, not only on the roadways but on sidewalks and other areas that free quickly. Take caution when walking your dogs tomorrow, and it’s a good idea to limit outside time during the height of the storm. We’ll be paying close attention to the developments all day tomorrow and will post updates to our social media feeds as needed.
It is easy to become stressed in an emergency – there are so many things going through your mind that situations can become overwhelming - which is why we always emphasize the importance of knowing what to do before something happens. When it comes to pet preparedness one of the most important things you can do, long before you ever need it, is to find out where your nearest emergency veterinary hospital is located. Here in Connecticut it seems like many of our veterinary ERs are clustered together… there is a few in Southern CT, several around Hartford, and now two on the Shoreline in Madison and Guilford. However, in other areas they can be some distance apart.
So you have now arrived at the Vet ER with your pet, but what should you expect? This is a common question since hopefully most pet owners are not frequent visitors to emergency hospitals, and they run quite differently than your normal animal hospital. First, you should know that someone is always there to help you – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – these places are fully staffed. You’ll be asked what’s going on, and to fill out some basic information about you and your pet, and you will also be asked two questions that can be hard to hear: Do you want to resuscitate/do you want CPR done? Can a catheter be placed and necessary medications be started? They will always ask these questions no matter what the situation is.
After the check-in process (which doesn’t take as long as it sounds) one of two things will happen. If the staff feels that your pet is in immediate concern they will call someone to the front right away. If your pet appears stable, you may be asked to take a seat, but a technician will be up shortly to speak with you. Either way, a veterinary technician will come up and introduce themselves, ask you what brings you in to the hospital with your pet, and gather the important “vitals” information. All of this helps to determine an idea of what may be going on and what the next steps will be. Now prepare yourself for this: after this quick check, your pet will most likely be taken into the treatment area without you. We know, this causes panic for owners not being able to accompany their pets, but it really is necessary.
The treatment area is the heart of an emergency veterinary hospital, and it is ALWAYS beating fast. There may be multiple procedures taking place at once, there are pets in all conditions, lots of supplies, equipment, and of course the technicians and doctors working hard. It is truly an organized chaos. The staff isn’t hiding anything, they’re just working quickly. While your pet is in the treatment area being assessed they are also going to be looked over by a staff veterinarian who will conduct an exam on them to get to the bottom of what is going on. At that point, depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, they will either be kept in the treatment area or ICU (just like a human hospital) for close monitoring, or they will be brought out to wait with you in the waiting area. Always remember that ERs whether human or animal are run on a “triage system,” which in simple terms means that the most critical patients are seen first, even if they arrive after someone else. If you have to wait a bit with your pet, that is a good thing.
The next step is when the veterinarian who assessed your pet will discuss the conditions and a plan for treating whatever the identified problem may be. This is the time to ask all the questions you want, but also remember to listen to what the veterinarian has to say. Sometimes there are things that are simply unknown until initial tests can be run. For example, blood tests – which are as standard in animal hospitals as in human hospitals – may need to be run before an idea of what’s going on inside your pet can be fully considered. And also remember that these veterinarians are not the ones that have seen your pet over the years, nor do they have access to those records, so go easy on them. And finally, they will most often suggest things like blood tests or xrays, which may seem silly to you because you just had them done at your vet, but in an emergency hospital they need to be able to tell what’s happening at that very moment in order to help your pet so these things need to be done.
Lastly, be prepared to be bored, tired, and unfortunately stressed, for a few hours at least. What’s done in an emergency veterinary hospital takes time, it could take an hour or it could take four, it all depends on the severity of what’s happening with your pet. Think of all the traumatic cases that are routinely seen in an emergency clinic: hit by car, attack by dog, respiratory distress, heart failure, etc. And remember that emergency visits cost money… a lot more than your $80.00 annual wellness exam. You need to be aware that a typical “walk in the door” to an emergency veterinary hospital is going to run a least $300.00 minimum. There are options offered, such as CareCredit, pet insurance, and other types of financial aid, so you should look in to those before you need them to find the one that works best with you.
Here Are Some Links & Tips To Remember!
View & Print our list of Connecticut Pet ERs right here on our website! Click Here
Pet Insurance is a great idea, and there are many options to choose from even for senior pets or pets with preexisting conditions (just like people!) Here's a great website that can help you out https://www.petinsurancereview.com/
Most veterinary emergency centers accept CareCredit as a payment option. The great thing about this service is that you get an instant approval and notification of exactly how much credit you are given, which you can then apply immediately to your bill. You can even complete the information long before you ever need it by going to their website at https://www.carecredit.com
We share a lot about what is involved with our animal response situations, but something that often gets overlooked are the types of things that happen to make sure that those responses run smoothly. A big portion of that is making sure that our team can stay in communication with each other, and with fellow emergency teams, under all conditions. Remember that following a natural disaster the usual ways of communication like cell phones and internet might not be available, and even at the scene of an emergency incident, trying to talk or text on a phone is certainly not ideal.
These are just a few of the reasons why we have and maintain a special communications case with enough radios for every member of our team, in addition to a number of specialty radios capable of working in conjunction with other emergency services, search and rescue operators, and even federal agencies, which may be involved in emergency or disaster incidents. Part of the training in EARS covers the use of these devices, and we frequently conduct drills and exercises to assure that everyone involved knows how to use this equipment. Many times during events that we participate in we will assign radios to team members and utilize those opportunities as training sessions as if they were actual incidents. This helps everyone become fully familiar with the radios, their use, and how to troubleshoot common issues that come from field use.
Communications following emergencies and disasters is something that is not only important to a team like ours, but is also important to your own families and friends. You should make sure that you have a solid plan in place for how to contact those close to you should you be impacted by an emergency or disaster. And as we explained above, you shouldn’t rely only on being able to grab your phone and call someone, or get online and email or post a message. Consider alternatives like having a friend or relative that you can call to on a “hard line” who can then reach out to others who may be worried about you. Remember to make sure that someone else has a list of people that you would want contacted if you are involved in an incident so that they can in-turn relay messages for you. All of these things are important parts of being prepared, because you never know when something may happen, and in today’s technological world it is in fact easier for things to go wrong than not!
Here are some helpful and interesting tips:
- Did you know that text messages work by different means than making calls? Following a disaster, texting is a better way to go, especially because if the receiver is not in an area they can get the message, it will go through once they are in a better spot.
- Have a trusted family member or a friend be your “point person” if you face an emergency or disaster. Tell them how to post to your Facebook, or have them post a message there, so that others know you’re safe. Give them a contact list of who to reach if you are unable to do so.
- Pick a few people from outside of your area to be your “point person” as well. Remember, sometimes disasters impact a wide area even beyond where the initial impact occurs, so someone a few towns over may not be able to receive your messages. Consider someone in a different state, or at the very least a different area of your state.
- Buy wireless radios for your family! These days a good set of wireless radios will only run you around $40.00 - $60.00, but if communications go down, they can be the only way to keep in touch if you need to separate for any reason. Come up with a communications plan to keep in touch – for example, a designated time each hour to connect by radio so that you conserve the battery life at other points.
This past Tuesday, October 23, we teamed up with the Connecticut Humane Society to host a Pet First Aid presentation at their Newington headquarters.The presentation was given by EARS Director of Operations, Jon Nowinski, and included information on pet safety, how owners can learn to get the vitals on their own pets and be more aware of when something may be amiss with them, and of course, what to do should they experience a pet emergency at home or while they are out with their pets. No one likes to think about these things happening, but as we always say, being aware and being prepared will go a long way to helping you - and your pets - stay calm in an otherwise stressful situation.
For those who attended the presentation, we discussed providing some links to information shared during it, and you'll find those links below. If you have any questions, or if you are interested in arranging a Pet First Aid presentation to be given to your own organization, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 941 - EARS.
You can view an online version of the Pet First Aid presentation on our Google SkyDrive by CLICKING HERE
Did you know that October 7th to October 13th is Fire Prevention Week? It’s not just a time to check and make sure that your house is fire safe, but also to keep in mind that with the growing population of pets, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires. Household fires are one of those emergencies that no one sees coming, and tragically many aren’t prepared for, resulting in panic and lack of coordination. Add to that the concern for pets inside a burning structure and you have even more issues to deal with. But as with many situations – preparedness and prevention is the key to staying safe.
There are a few things that pet owners can do when it comes to preparedness, and most of it begins with small things that can go a long way during an emergency. First and foremost you should assure that responders to your home are aware of the type and number of pets you have inside. Affixing a pet rescue decal to your door frame or a window in the front AND rear of your home is a great indicator. But, make sure it’s updated and accurate, so if you add or loose a pet make sure you change the sticker. Second, if you own dogs always keep a spare leash (slipleashes are great) right near your front door, that way if you are able to evacuate with your pets or a firefighter is able to access your house, everyone can quickly and easily get a dog leashed. If you’re a cat owner, consider leaving at least one cat carrier in a front closet or easy-to-grab area by your doorway. And lastly, know where your pets may go in the event they are stressed or scared. Do your cats have a particular hiding space under a bed? Are your dogs likely to run out of the house if a door is open for them? Is there a safe space on your property far enough away from your home that you can move your pets do while emergency responders are on scene?
A lot of preventative measures rely on what you are doing to make sure your home is safe from potential fire causes. Many people enjoy lighting candles all-year-round, but remember they should never be left unattended, and should never be at a height or in a place where pets may get at them. Some of us leave the heaters on for pets when we aren’t home in the winter, but you should always assure that bedding, toys, and other pet items are far away (at least 5 feet or more) from any potential heat sources. And never, ever, leave a fire burning in your fire place when you aren’t home!
And remember that part of preparedness for emergencies is making a plan for if something happens when you aren’t home. Make sure that a neighbor is aware of the types of pets you own, and has contact information for you as well as another person in an emergency. It helps to keep collars on animals even when they are home because not only can it help if they need to be evacuated from a structure, but collars should have identification tags on them as well. And finally, microchipping your pets is truly the best way to assure they will be reunited with you if they go missing. Many times pets recognize the danger and stress of a fire and will escape a home by running through an open doorway or other exist. Often times people on scene may not even know that they got out because of the activity happening. If your pet isn’t microchipped they could get brought to an animal hospital or a nearby shelter and not be identified, but nearly all veterinary practices and animal shelters have microchip scanners and will scan any animal that is brought to them or picked up by them.
Remember that as with everything, preparedness and prevention is the key to keeping you and your pets safe and sound during an emergency! Have questions or looking for more tips? Contact us any time at email@example.com!
Seven… we’ve had SEVEN tornadoes causing major damage in Connecticut so far in 2018… and that’s the largest number in recent history. Hurricanes you watch coming, blizzards are forecast days in advance, even heavy rains are seen coming, but tornadoes are one of nature’s deadliest weather phenomena because not only can they be unpredictable, but they form, strike, and move on so quickly there is often little notice. If you don’t think this type of disaster is something you need to prepare for here in Connecticut, you are making a big mistake.
Any storm that produces rotation has the potential to cause tornadoes, and this time of year we can see a lot of that happening. When severe weather is predicted it’s important to pay close attention to alerts so that you can be prepared to do what’s necessary to keep yourself and your animals safe. Most people have heard about weather “watches” and weather “warnings,” but it’s very easy to get confused over which means what. If you hear that there is a tornado watch it means that there’s storms coming through the area that have the potential to – but haven’t yet – cause a tornado. But if you hear that there is a tornado warning it means you need to take immediate action because a tornado has been visually reported or seen on radar.
If there is a tornado warning you should immediately seek shelter in the strongest part of whatever structure you are in. If it’s an office or municipal building often that would be a staircase or inner room. These are sometimes marked as “areas of refuge” on doors or maps. If you are at home when this happens seeking shelter in a basement is best, but if you aren’t able to do that that the center or strongest point of your house is best even taking shelter under a heavy table or desk. Always stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.
Keeping animals safe during a tornado is no easy task either, especially if your animals get nervous during regular storms. If you have warning of severe weather, putting your pets in carriers or crates and covering them is a good idea. In the event that there is debris or objects that may be in the air or falling around them, carriers and crates will provide protection. After the danger of a storm has passed remember that the outside is going to look and smell vastly different to your pets. Never simply let them out of the house without going with them, and always have them leashed when walking after a storm. Keep them away from downed trees and power lines, and try to avoid walking in areas with lots of debris to avoid pet injuries and entanglement.
Did you know that the month of October sees the highest number of reported pet emergencies out of the entire year? From helping themselves to Halloween treats, to getting in to cleaning and car chemicals, the number of pets admitted for various issues to veterinary emergency centers in October drastically increases. Here at EARS, we've made October our Pet First Aid Month, and will be featuring many special events, outreach campaigns, and deals on our exclusively made Pet First Aid Kits. Any pet emergency can be scary for an owner, but knowing what to do in the event that you experience one will help you to stay calm.
As fall settles in there are a lot of potential dangers to our pets, both within the house as well as during outdoor time, and even weather situations can impact our animals. This time of year many people start to do pre-winter cleaning which could mean winterizing your cars or houses, bringing outside plants in from the cold, and more. Each of these things adds to toxicities our pets can get in to so it's extra important to make sure that these things are kept far out of the reach of our curious animals. Chemicals such as cleaning agents, antifreeze, and others should always be put away immediately after use and stored properly. Not all plans are pet-friendly, and even those that are may have inadvertently been exposed to toxins while outside, so any time you bring plants back in to the home you should make sure they are far out of reach of paws. If you aren't sure whether a plant is toxic to pets, make sure you check in to it by visiting or contacting a store or searching for information online.
Even regular outside outings can become dangerous to pets in the fall as there seems to always be a lot more debris strewn about than usual. Sharp sticks, leaf-covered rocks, standing water from rains, and similar things can pose dangers so keep a close eye on your pets even while you are just outside on your daily walks. Never allow pets to drink from puddles, streams, or other outside water sources as you simply don't know what things have gotten mixed in to them and there are many health issues that can come from ingesting unwanted crud.
Stay tuned to our website and social media pages for more tips and tricks all throughout the month, and check out our calendar for upcoming seminars, classes, community events, and online chats! Stay safe and enjoy the fall... it can be a very fun time for pets, and doesn't have to be scary for owners!
On Wednesday, August 29, at approximately 4:30pm EARS received a dispatch for assistance from Stratford EMS & Fire Department to a large apartment complex fire on the border of Stratford and Bridgeport. The complex had 30 units and was pet friendly, so when first responders arrived on scene were made aware of residents who had evacuated with their animals, as well as some pet that that were still inside the building. Fire department members made great efforts to pull animals from the building, which included several cats and a few dogs, and while that was going on the dispatch for EARS assistance was broadcast and our team had individuals enroute within minutes.
A number of pets were rescued by the fire department, and about seven were transported for evaluation at VCA Shoreline Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center located in Shelton, in addition to over a dozen that remained on scene with owners. Our team arrived and went in to operation less than 30 minutes after the first dispatch call was received, and focused on two primary areas - providing on-site assessment and triage if needed, and making sure owners had pet items or resources for their animal needs. We distributed a number of leashes for owners who had to leave quickly with their dogs, and provided water and portable bowls for a number of pets as well. EARS cleared the scene at approximately 6:45pm.
The temperature and humidity made this a particularly dangerous situation, which called for the response of multiple towns and resources to support the firefighters on scene. Departments as far away as Shelton and Milford were called in for support, and town buses were brought to the location to provide a cooled space for residents and first responders to get out of the heat. In addition to the emergency departments, both Animal Controls from Stratford and Bridgeport were on scene for the duration of the situation and assisted with animals involved. As is our Standard Operating Practices, with Animal Control on scene when we arrived we worked directly with them to support their needs while also communicating and working with the departments that called us. It was a great team effort by everyone involved, and the situation ran smoothly.
Presently the investigation in to the cause of the fire is ongoing, and the structure is still unable to be occupied. We are keeping watch of the resources for residents and will be offering animal assistance for those who need it. Stay tuned for more information!
SHELTON, CT – The Connecticut Emergency Animal Response Service (CT EARS) is proud to announce its participation in National Preparedness Month with special events focused on helping to make every owner “Pet Prepared” for situations they may face. While there are plenty of outreach campaigns aimed at the human side of things, we here at EARS take the month to educate people on the animal side, from getting a disaster plan started, to building a pet emergency kit, to knowing what to do when the unexpected happens. We’ve picked a different pet preparedness theme for each week of the month which will coincide with events both in the community and even online.
Week #1 (Sep. 2-8) – Make A Plan, Start A Kit, Be Ready!
Week #2 (Sep. 9-15) – “What If?” … Do You Know What To Do In A Disaster?
Week #3 (Sep. 16-22) – Pet Medical Emergencies
Week #4 (Sep. 23-29) – “Because Disasters Don’t Just Happen ‘Someplace Else’ Anymore”
To being with, we are hosting a special “Pet Preparedness Night” on Tuesday, September 4th, from 6:00pm – 9:00pm taking place at the Choice Pet Store at 1947 Black Rock Turnpike, in Fairfield. This event will feature members of our response team on hand to answer questions, provide handout information, and we will have our Rescue 2 Animal Ambulance on site for visitors to get an inside look at how our team responds to emergencies and disasters that impact pets throughout our community. There will even be special in-store activities, including a raffle and giveaways as well. Pet are welcome to attend too!
For more information about this, or any of the EARS National Preparedness Month events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 941-EARS or visit Facebook at www.Facebook.com/EARSCT
For those who aren't aware, there is a Heat Advisory in effect for Connecticut which indicates that "the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are increased." Although keeping cool and staying hydrated is vital, there are other concerns for pet owners such as the heat of pavement, humidity impact on pets with respiratory issues, and increased wellness issues for animals that may have existing health problems.
Dogs get singled out the most when it comes to heat-related warnings, but all animals are susceptible to this kind of danger, even indoor pets. For example, if you own cats that are very fluffy or heavy, make sure you are keeping an eye on them for signs of breathing difficulties, as that can increase in this type of weather. Owners of large animals such as horses need to be aware of hydration levels, access to cool water, and even consider limiting their time outside unless covered and shaded options are accessible to them.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind this next week:
As always, if you notice or suspect ANY signs that the heat is bothering your pets, you should seek veterinary attention immediately as issues like heatstroke can develop quickly and turn deadly FAST