OKANOGAN – Volunteers from the Okanogan County Fairgrounds are hosting veterinarians from World Vets Okanogan Area Disaster Relief during the Cold Springs Fire.
The volunteers connect local ranchers with veterinarians to assist in caring for injured and sick animals.
Currently, two seriously injured horses and other evacuated horses are staying at the fairgrounds.
A variety of food for animal has been donated and continues to be accepted. Ranchers are feeding hay to their animals due to the Cold Springs Fire consuming thousands of acres of grazing lands.
They fear that there will be a shortage of hay because many haystacks burned from this summer’s harvest.
In some areas within the fire it burned so hot that it may take a couple years for the soil to be healthy enough for planting or grazing.
Spanger Brown, a veterinarian from the World Vets, arrived last week and assisted with caring for animals that have been impacted by the Cold Springs Fire.
“As a result of fire, many animals – cattle, horses, etc. – require medical care due to smoke inhalation, burns and wounds,” he said. “Just like humans, it is very common for the animals to get lung infections from small particles found in wildfire smoke. If untreated, a healthy animal could become seriously ill from pneumonia and die within weeks.”
The Okanogan County Disaster Response Team veterinarians have been visiting local ranches to provide care for animals that have a chance to recover. They vaccinate animals and dress wounds with antibiotics to prevent infections.
They also have to make difficult decisions to euthanize badly injured animals.
The Cold Springs Fire has taken the lives of thousands of cattle, and countless horses and wildlife. Many have either succumbed from fire or suffered serious burns.
Also, they are working together with the Snohomish County Cattlemen’s Association to get numerous semi-truck loads of hay purchased and delivered to ranchers, in addition to flatbed loads of hay delivered already.
The group’s mission is to improve the health and well being of animals by providing veterinary aid, training and disaster relieve worldwide.