RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Veterinary clinics are donating breathing equipment, masks, robes, and other essential equipment and supplies purchased with Fido in mind. Now they are being re-used to help doctors fight the spread of COVID-19 among people.
“We buy in the same stores,” said Paul Lunn, dean of North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, who handed over two full-service ventilators, 500 suits and 950 masks for use in local hospitals on Monday. “There is no difference in equipment.”
In response to a call by US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week for materials to help combat the pandemic, veterinary schools are expanding from North Carolina to Colorado to New York.
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There are 30 fully accredited veterinary schools in 26 states, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Of these, 27 have veterinary teaching hospitals with full services covering everything from cats and dogs to horses and other large animals. According to Lunn, the schools have identified more than six dozen ventilators that could be used for human treatment.
With the outbreak of H1N1 influenza in 2009, veterinarians prepared to provide assistance in such emergencies. He added, “This is not the first time we have prepared for this, although it is the first time in my personal experience that we have actually pulled the trigger. ”
Private institutions also respond to the call.
Dr. Virginia Sinnott-Stutzman, chair of the infection control committee at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, said members of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society have identified about 100 full-service ventilators that can provide long-term respiratory support. She said there are hundreds of relatively simple anesthesia ventilators nationwide – “basically like an automated hand squeezing a bag … to bring air into the patient” – that could be put into operation, despite this altogether Just a dent in New York alone requires tens of thousands of ventilators.
“While that doesn’t seem like much, we hope that your grandmother, your spouse who gets this ventilator, can save a life,” she said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which will improve in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can lead to more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
Dealing with the outbreak:
Experts say there’s no evidence that pets can get the disease.
The Colorado State University Veterinary School supplied Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins with a breathing apparatus that was “brand new and ready to use,” said Professor Tim Hackett. “We didn’t have a chance to use it.”
And in New York, the place in the United States hardest hit by the new coronavirus, the Cornell University Veterinary College loaned two full-service ventilators and a high-current oxygen unit to a Manhattan hospital. It is also preparing to send three full-service breathing machines and 19 of the smaller anesthetic ventilators to Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, where the veterinary school is located.
Dean Lorin Warnick, whose facility has also provided hundreds of respirators, surgical masks, and testing supplies, said the college only provides essential emergency service to animal patients and follows FDA guidelines for preserving protective equipment.
Warnick said the goal is “to make sure we can redirect as much of our care as possible into human health care”.
In addition to equipment and accessories, veterinarians try to help with operation and space requirements in bed and even detail the staff for the coronavirus tasks.
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“We also made contingency plans to go much further,” said Lunn. To feed our staff … as technical experts who could work under the supervision of doctors, possibly to provide our physical facility. Because we have large hospital rooms with line oxygen and a variety of other medical supplies. “
Hackett said the veterinary and human health systems already work a lot together.
“There are times when we have to run there to get drugs we don’t carry, equipment or parts,” he said. “They were always very open. It’s really nice to be able to repay that. “
Kevin Unger, President and CEO of Poudre Valley, said he had heard stories of animals coming into his facilities after hours for CAT scans and MRIs, and agreed that the relationship is “a two-way relationship “.
“Colorado State has made really big strides,” he said. “Go Rams!”
But don’t be scared of the nation’s furry animals – Warnick and others said they had enough equipment to care for people’s pets.
“You really are part of the family,” said Warnick. “We’re in it together.”
While uninterrupted global news about the effects of the coronavirus has become commonplace, so have the stories of the kindness of strangers and those who have sacrificed for others. “One Good Thing” is an AP series that reflects these kind acts.
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