BC vets prepare for aftermath of flooding – News


The Canadian Press photo by Darryl Dyck

A farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia is surrounded by floodwater in this photo taken on November 17.

As the floodwaters that have engulfed parts of British Columbia, Canada this week begin to recede, the province is compiling a roster of area vets with experience in food animals, horses and / or emergency interventions to help overcome the dire consequences of the devastation by providing care. for thousands of animals, including euthanasia if necessary.

People registered to practice in the province could be approached directly by producers or producer groups in the coming weeks to help animals in need. The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia has cautioned its members to approach volunteering with caution.

“It would be prudent for veterinarians to confirm their insurance coverage for any harm that they themselves may suffer or that they may cause to others as a result of the provision of veterinary services under these difficult circumstances,” said the organization in an email alert.

The Canadian Veterinary Response, a volunteer system within the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, is ready but has not yet been activated by the provincial ministries of agriculture, food and fisheries, the director confirmed. General Jost am Rhyn this morning.

Thousands of cattle, horses and other animals are believed to be in distress or have died in and around Abbotsford, an agricultural region near the U.S. border that has been inundated with mudslides and flooding since torrential rains flooded the Fraser River and other waterways on Monday, flowing into the valley.

The crisis in Sumas Prairie, east of Abbotsford, is now focused on supply. With roads and bridges washed away or closed, shortages of food, gasoline and medical supplies loom on the horizon. According to reports, residents of several towns were trapped for days. Bottled water is almost non-existent.

Meanwhile, thousands of farm animals have been found in near-freezing water or have drowned in recent days, creating new and future problems for the region’s agricultural sector and raising environmental concerns in the process.

At least three veterinary surgeries have closed in the region. Agwest Veterinary Group in Abbotsford is one of the open practices, but only for emergencies. A woman who answered the phone provided a brief summary of what was going on at the office before ending the call.

“It’s always a yard situation here, so it might be a few days before you get your head out of the water,” she said hurriedly. “We are still in rescue mode.”

Locals report that many barns remain underwater and that small livestock such as pigs and chickens have drowned. Their carcasses and flooded manure pits contaminate the landscape.

This creates a problem for the cattle, which have sat in contaminated water for days, drinking it by the gallons. The region produces 50% of the province’s milk. Experts predict that many cattle will get mastitis, dry out and then need to be euthanized.

On a bulletin board for the Veterinary Information Network, an online community for the profession and parent of the VIN News Service, Dr Josephine Banyard of nearby Chilliwack described what she and her husband, also a veterinarian, see in the area.

“A group of young people are rescuing cattle (by boat) and many farmers are transporting cattle by truck to other farms – immense neighborhood friendliness abounds – so kind,” she wrote.

By telephone, Banyard called the situation “surreal”.

“There are a lot of people who come to us because they can’t get to their regular vet,” she said. “But they seem so worried. People are freaking out for food and supplies. They are just trying to survive.”

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting ideas, personal experiences and / or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a comment for review, send an email to [email protected]

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