Disaster Preparation for Horses


Although I didn’t actually receive a question on this topic, Hurricane Sandy inspired me to write about it because it’s an area most horse owners don’t think about until it’s too late.

An emergency is an urgent situation. A disaster is an emergency that overwhelms the resources of the individual or even local community. While emergencies and disasters may be unavoidable, how well you and your horse cope with a potentially life-threatening situation depends on how well you prepared ahead of time. Because some disasters (like a barn fire) can happen in any area, but others (like a hurricane or tornado) usually only happen in certain areas, you need to know and prepare for situations that are likely to occur where you live. Also, being responsible for the wellbeing of a horse during a disaster is a bit more challenging than being responsible for a dog, cat or other small pet. Below are some resources I hope you take the time to check out and use!

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has disaster preparedness documents and links to other agencies on their website that are specifically for horse owners.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has guidelines for all species of animals, including horses.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is officially part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Their mission is to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards through a system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an official first responder for disasters in the US. Take their interactive quiz to find out if you’re really ready for an emergency.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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One comment on “Disaster Preparation for Horses
  1. I have to say we all tend to think about our homes and things like that but do we really think about how we are going to help our animals in the case of a disaster? not really which is why I like articles like this one.

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