- Don’t self-deploy!
While the good intentions are appreciated, a systematic response is essential for effective, efficient progress of response and recovery efforts. Self-deploying volunteers can actually complicate and add to the work of local emergency management officials. Please do not enter a disaster-stricken area unless you are part of an organized response team with authorized access.
- Future volunteer work is possible
The agencies tasked with response and recovery will identify needs for volunteers, and those volunteers will be coordinated through the incident management system. If you are interested in volunteering time to aid recovery efforts you should register now with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and then await word on how and where your efforts can help. The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has applications available for Temporary Emergency Licenses for out-of-state veterinarians who expect to deploy in Texas. To facilitate supporting future incidents, veterinarians may want to consider joining and training with a veterinary medical emergency response team, such as a state veterinary medical reserve corps or local Medical Reserve Corps programs.
- Donate if you can
Emergency officials say the best way to help at present is to donate to reputable organizations that will funnel the right aid to the people who need it. You might consider these:
• American Veterinary Medical Foundation
• Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation
• Houston SPCA
• SPCA of Texas
- Stay informed
The American Veterinary Medical Association has created a special website page covering Hurricane Harvey information for veterinarians, including how AVMA member veterinarians participating in rescue and emergency care related to Hurricane Harvey may apply for reimbursement grants through the AVMF.
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association would like to share important information with you about Hurricane Harvey disaster response. The key organizations and agencies responsible for that response in Texas have expressed gratitude for the outpouring of offers to help, and would like the veterinary community to know the following:
HARRISBURG: The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, introduced in the state Senate by Senator Andy Dinniman, and introduced in the state House by Representatives Frank Farry and Dom Costa and is legislation aimed to protect pets left unattended in hot cars.
The proposed legislation prohibits the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the health and well-being of the animal. Police officers, public safety professionals, and humane officers would have authority to remove a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle if it is believed the animal is suffering and the owner or operator of the vehicle cannot be found after a reasonable search. Officers acting to save animals left in hot cars will not be held liable for damages.
Media coverage is welcome to the following event.
Below are some talking points regarding opioids and veterinary medicine, provided by the AVMA.
* Robert Simpson, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: Applying a One Size Fits All Approach to Human and Veterinary Medical Professionals, Custom Tailoring is Needed. Journal of Animal & Environmental Law (2014).
Please be aware that a PVMA member received a phone call from an out-of-state number mentioning that they can pay their dues in installments and to contact them to set up a payment plan. Please note that PVMA does not have a phone service company collecting member dues.
We do allow installment plans for dues, however, PVMA will never call our members and ask for credit card information over the phone. Anyone wishing to do so would be instructed to call our office. If you receive this type of phone call, please note that it is a scam.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM KEVIN BRIGHTBILL, DVM
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
In response to the recent finding of Seoul virus in domestic rats in several states, including Pennsylvania, we are providing practitioners with information about this zoonotic disease, including the attached Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Advisory for Seoul Virus. The CDC provides FAQs about Seoul Virus and Guidelines for the Sanitary Management of Pet Rodents.
During early December 2016, a home-based rat breeder in Wisconsin developed an acute febrile illness. During late December 2016, CDC tested a blood specimen from the patient and confirmed that the infection was caused by Seoul virus, a member of the hantavirus family of rodent-borne viruses. A family member who worked with rodents also tested positive for Seoul virus. Both people have recovered. A follow-up investigation of rat breeders who supplied the initial patient's rats revealed six additional human cases of Seoul virus infections occurring at two Illinois rat-breeding facilities. Of the eight confirmed cases in Wisconsin and Illinois, two were hospitalized. Rats at these facilities have also tested positive for Seoul virus.
CDC and health officials from Wisconsin and Illinois are conducting an investigation of Seoul virus infections among pet rats and persons exposed to rats at rat-breeding facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois. Trace-back and trace-out investigations of possibly infected rodents have identified distribution chains in other states that may require additional investigation.
People who become infected with this virus often exhibit relatively mild or no symptoms, but some will develop a form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) with death in approximately 1-2% of HFRS cases. Although serologic studies have indicated the presence of Seoul virus in wild rats in the United States, this is the first known outbreak associated with pet rats in the US.
Human and animal health officials are working together to identify the sources of infected rats, and to trace-out where potentially infected rodents may have been distributed. People at risk of Seoul virus infection due to exposure to infected rats are also being identified. To date, state health officials in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin have been notified that infected rats may have been moved into these states. Those receiving potentially infected rats will be contacted by the PA Department of Health, and should not distribute these rats further.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture received word this week that a rattery in Lancaster County, PA had received rats from a Tennessee rattery in the recent past and this Tennessee rattery has since tested positive for Seoul Virus. The Lancaster County rattery voluntarily depopulated the remaining rats in their facility and the Bureau of Animal Health is in the process of tracking any rat movements from this rattery after the arrival of these rats from Tennessee. This information is being shared with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and they will be contacting the owners regarding questions concerning human exposure to rats from this premises. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is working cooperatively with the Department of Health to get word out to owners of rats that originated from this Lancaster County rattery to ensure that owners receive pertinent human health information.
Practitioners who receive questions regarding rats purchased from Happy-Go-Ratty Rattery of Lancaster County should instruct clients to seek advice from the PA Department of Health. At the discretion of the owner and veterinarian the owner may opt to euthanize these rats or exposed rats due to the human health concerns associated with infected rats. Serological testing can confirm infection in rats, and testing is available at IDEXX reference laboratories. If the animals are test-positive or euthanized without testing, the owners should be encouraged to talk with the Department of Health at 877.724.3258 about appropriate precautions for their family.
If you or your practice treat pocket pets, including rats, and are willing to be a resource for owners, please contact Charlene Wandzilak.