Monday, March 7, 2011

Pets lost in earthquakes, floods, cyclones

Microchipping helps prevent pet loss.  Registration and tagging help prevent pet loss.
Is your pet easily identified in the case of loss?  If not book them in for a microchip and buy a collar.
Don't wait till the next cyclone or (fill in unexpected event here).
Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Too many pets lost in natural disasters - vets

March 8, 2011

by Laurie Dixon

A lack of animal identification in Australia's recent natural disasters highlights the need for better microchipping and tagging, the country's leading veterinary organisation says.

Many animals displaced during recent flood and cyclone events in Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory had no identification, severely hampering the rescue and recovery effort, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) says.

"It's concerning that so many pets brought in to surgeries and shelters during the recent crises weren't identifiable because they hadn't been properly microchipped and registered," AVA spokeswoman Dr Jodie Wilson said.

"It's really important for family pets, working dogs, horses and livestock to be microchipped and tagged so that they can be identified if they go missing during a natural disaster.

"It's also important to keep your contact details up-to-date on the microchip registry, so you can be contacted when your pet is found."

Microchipping is particularly important because during natural disasters like floods and cyclones, identification collars can easily be lost.

Microchipping can easily be done when you take your cat or dog for its annual check-up.

For vets and shelter workers, being able to quickly identify animals in an extreme situation is important. The animals may be injured or traumatised and need to be returned home as soon as possible.

"The trauma of living through these types of events is huge for pets and their owners. Vets and shelter staff want to be able to reunite people with their animals as soon as possible so that the healing process can begin," Wilson said.

Dr Graham Lauridsen, from the Innisfail and Tully Veterinary Surgery, says he is still treating lost cats and dogs following Cyclone Yasi, and only a couple of them have been microchipped.

"With all the fences down after the cyclone and the flooding, lots of animals were brought into the surgery for treatment. A couple of these were microchipped and we were able to return them to their owners within a couple of hours, but unfortunately the majority weren't identifiable," he said.

"Many of these animals have strayed a long way from their homes, and council shelters are only able to accommodate them in the local area for around three days. After this most are sent to rehoming shelters out of the area.

"Once this happens, there is very little chance of them ever finding their way home. That's why it's really important to make sure your pets are microchipped so this doesn't happen to your animal," he said.

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