HSVMA Helping Care for Animals Displaced by California Fires
News
Sunday, September 27, 2015 06:47 AM

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Dr. Kate Kuzminski with a cat who suffered burns to the face during the fires.  HSVMA

As cleanup and recovery efforts continue in the wake of devastating wildfires that engulfed parts of Northern California, animal organizations, including the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, are working together to ensure pets and livestock displaced by the fire are receiving care until they can be reunited with their families.

Under the request and support of Dr. Rick Bachman, the acting medical director for Lake County Animal Care and Control, HSVMA-RAVS veterinarian, Dr. Kate Kuzminski, and veterinary technician Dominique Fortner are helping to provide medical care to animals from small companion animals to livestock.

Dr. Kuzminski provided the following update yesterday: “It’s day 14 since the start of the fire, and the temperature continues to be in the 90s. Things are quieter here now, as there are fewer search and rescue teams and news crews. For us, the medical care continues: Daily bandage changes, pain control, antibiotics. Everyone has the same injuries: burned muzzles and faces, melted foot pads, burned ears. The fires may be 90% contained, but these injuries will take weeks until healed to normal. These animals are amazing. I hope they find their people. We are happy to care for them until they do.”

More Photos:

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Animals are being treated for burns on their faces, ears, and foot pads.  HSVMA
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Dr. Kuzminski examines a cat who will be cared for at Lake County Animal Care and Control until her injuries heal and her family can be found.  HSVMA


UPDATE: September 30, 2015

HSVMA continues to assist Lake County Animal Care and Control with treating injured animals. Here are profiles of just a few patients being cared for.

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HSVMA

Camo Girl

"Camo Girl" is a sweet little cat who spends most of her day sleeping and being a clown. She is really wonderful about treatments, and is helping raise team morale with her silly antics. Her foot pads melted off to the bone, so the fact that she is incredibly good-natured is even more awe-inspiring. Everyone loves her and we're happy to say she is on the road to recovery!

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HSVMA

Spice Girl

"Spice Girl" is a three-month old kitten who came in on September 29 from the Cobb Mountain area. She had been wandering around on the mountain with foot pad injuries that were at least 10 days old. She is slowly coming out of her shell with medical care and lots of loving.

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HSVMA

Joey (formerly known as "Old Man Cat")

Everyone LOVES "Old Man Cat"! He has a burned face and melted foot pads. OMC keeps a watchful eye on us as we treat the other animals, and offers moral support. He is definitely a team favorite!

Update 10/2/15: OMC was reunited with his guardian yesterday, and we learned his name is Joey.


UPDATE: October 2, 2015

Great news; the cat who was christened “Old Man Cat” by the medical team was reunited with his guardian yesterday! We learned his name is Joey.

Dr. Kuzminski provided the following update: “It has been 21 days since the fire started on Cobb Mountain. Although injuries are healing, we are also noticing significant tissue damage from the heat that was not fully obvious at first. This is most noticeable on the ear tips of the cats we are treating.”

Here are profiles of a few more cats that are being treated:

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HSVMA

Ariel

Ariel came in 11 days ago, and she is a chatterbox. Her bandages came off on Thursday, October 1. We’re happy to share Ariel’s guardian found her yesterday and, although their home was destroyed in the fire, both of her cats, including Ariel, survived.

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HSVMA

Big Man

“Big Man” was found on Cobb Mountain on the same day as Spice Girl. His wounds were at least 10 days old and, although mother nature did a good job of managing his severe foot wounds, the tips of his ears had to be removed due to burn damage. He truly enjoys his comfortable bed and all the love and attention he is receiving now.


UPDATE: October 7, 2015

Napa Humane has graciously loaned their mobile adoption unit to Lake County Animal Care and Control for the past three weeks, which we have been using to provide the cats a quiet and clean place to stay while their burns are healing. They have also sent an animal care attendant every day who has fed, cleaned, and stayed in the rig overnight to make sure the cats are doing OK. Per Dr. Kuzminski, “They have basically catered to each one of our patients and have been available for anything we, or our patients, have needed. They’ve truly been personal care attendants for basic needs for each of our patients, which has been absolutely amazing.” Napa Humane’s contributions have been a huge help to this response effort, and we could not have done our work without them.

Sally Seymour, one of Napa Humane’s volunteers, also happens to be a photographer, and she shared the following photos with us.

Mister (left) is another feline burn patient receiving care at LCAC&C. Livestock and equids, like this donkey (center), were also victims of the fire. Camo Girl (right) between bandage changes – she's surprisingly cooperative and good-natured about it.  Seymour & McIntosh

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HSVMA

Chip

Meet “Chip”, our only canine burn patient. Over the past two weeks, his true personality as a typical, bouncy Chihuahua has become obvious. He likely stuck his face into something extremely hot as his nose is the only part of him that sustained burns; his feet are fine. Happily, his nose is healing well now after a few debridements, antibiotics, and pain relief. It has been fantastic to see his spirit return as his injuries have resolved.