September is Disaster Preparedness Month – What can your veterinarian do to help you prepare?

If an emergency hit home today, would your stable be prepared?

With the recent State of Emergency declared for our immediate Florida service area, other weather related warnings for the region and hurricane season knocking at our door, we are to help you plan for what to do before disaster strikes home.

Have immediate access to all pertinent medical records for your horse(s)

Before and/or during an emergency, you may not be able to reach your location of documentation, or your regular veterinarian to obtain copies of necessary records due to road closures, power outages, lost cell phone towers, etc. This is why it is necessary to have these documents stored in a couple of different locations.

Our recommendation is that each owner has a copy of documentation along with the manager/owner of the stable. Ideally, having those records stored in a third offsite location may be of great advantage to you as well.

Necessary Identifying Paperwork

  1. Coggins Test: A negative Coggins test is required if the horse needs to be evacuated to a community shelter or if they have to cross state lines, and is recommended for any horse traveling or coming into direct contact with horses that have recently been transported.

At Russell Equine Sports Medicine (RESM) we offer traditional printed copies of Coggins test from the laboratory mailed directly to the owners and/or stables. We also have these files available digitally, either emailed (to the owner and/or the stable) or stored on a CD or flash drive that is given to owners/stables. So that, even during an emergency, you can always have access to those records regardless of the original documentation location. We also advise keeping copies of the documentation in your horse trailer, so that in a time of evacuation, you are not spending precious time trying to find the necessary credentials.

  1. Vaccination: In addition to your regularly scheduled vaccines, all horses should have a tetanus toxoid vaccine within the last year. At the beginning of hurricane season, it is advised that horses receive Eastern/Western Encephalitis and West Nile vaccination (due to increases in mosquitos from added rainfall).

At RESM, we offer a Prestige 5 way vaccine plus West Nile Virus to cover your animal against this additional threat, with the ease of one dose.

  1. Identifying photos of your horse to prove ownership. It is best to have all the angles: left and right side views, along with front and back shots. Make sure to photograph your horse’s unique marks, brands, scars, tattoos. Etc. Store a copy of your horse’s registration, tattoo and or/ microchip numbers, along with any brand or other distinguishing marks.

RESM offers microchipping certificates (printed and digital) for record keeping, as well as our vaccination records and deworming schedules for horses on our Wellness Plan.

  1. Health Certificates are valid for 30 days after issuance and are required to cross the Florida state line. During a time of emergency, roads may be unpassable for your veterinarian to reach your farm, which could cause serious delays of departure and precious time lost. During the height of serious weather season, it may be wise to have your vet issue a health certificate once per month.   Most evacuations need to take place 48 hours prior to hurricane force winds arriving at your location.

Contact RESM if you would like to prepare a Health Certificate for your stable.

Contact RESM today if we can help you prepare any of these documents, or if you need additional copies for safe storage.

In addition, several websites have emergency planning articles and checklists for our clients to utilize during the planning stage. Be sure to visit these links below to obtain additional information: