the veterinary emergency team

The Veterinary Emergency Team’s mobile care units


Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

 

The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) arrived in Perryton early this week in response to the devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Texas Panhandle community on June 15. 

The team’s mission for this deployment is providing veterinary medical support for animals injured in the tornadoes. 

“We’re here to provide medical care to animals, but we’re also here to help reunite animals with their families,” said Dr. Wesley Bissett, VET director. “Whenever you have a family that may have lost their home or whose business was damaged, reconnecting them with their pet can be an important first step of recovery.”

The VET is the largest and most sophisticated team of its kind in the country and comprises faculty, staff, and students from the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS). The team deploys throughout the state of Texas and across the country at the request of local, state, and federal officials in response to human-made and natural disasters. 

veterinary emergency team members with a dog

Veterinary Emergency Team members with a patient


Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

 

The 10 VET members and five Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Disaster Assessment and Recovery (DAR) agents who traveled to Perryton were met in the Texas Panhandle by two additional VET members and by faculty, staff, and students from the VMBS’ Veterinary Education, Research, & Outreach (VERO) program located in Canyon. 

Together, the team is providing hope to residents affected by the disaster along with local veterinarians Drs. Randy Skaggs and Emily Terry. 

“These people have lost their homes; some have lost members of their family,” said Beth Bernardo, VET logistics coordinator. “Everything that they have known in their life is completely gone or completely changed. The little bit of hope we can give them by supporting their animals and their pets, who are essentially their family members as well, is incredible to witness and be a part of.”

Bissett said the team is also eager to provide some help to the local veterinarians in Perryton and the surrounding communities who’ve been shouldering a majority of the veterinary medical needs since the tornadoes swept through the area on Thursday. 

“The pets in need have been hitting the local vet clinic, which is at a point now where it’s overwhelming,” Bissett said. “Their county, Ochiltree County, requested that we come in to provide some relief. So, we’ll provide triage and stabilization of animals that have been injured.”

The VET’s deployment to Perryton is made possible with the help of donor support. 

“We get the majority of our funding from donors,” Bernardo said. “We heavily rely on the donors who see and love what we do and want to help support our mission as a result. VET donors are just as important as every single person we have out in the field because we couldn’t do it without them.”

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