Saturday, January 14, 2017

What exactly is happening to the worlds Cheetahs

 The world's cheetah population has dramatically fallen over the last several decades to where now there are estimated to only be approximately 7100 in the wild. The Cheetah population in Asia is all but gone, essentially leaving only those left in Africa. Here's a link to a recent report. The majority of these live in the grasslands of Namibia and South Africa. What seems to be happening is a loss of the overall habitat that the animals have hunted in as there is more development in these countries for farmland. This has caused the cheetah population to move into areas where there are more trees and brush as opposed to wide open plains. One thing that was noted by veterinarians visiting the area was that many of these cheetah are very thin and malnourished and when examined closer have ocular injuries in one or both eyes. This makes stereoscopic vision almost impossible and something that these fast hunters require in chasing down their prey. Several years ago a veterinarian in the area examined some of these and found that there are penetrating wounds into the cornea of the eye caused by small thorns. It is
postulated that as these cats chase prey through a thorny brush undergrowth that they are taking thorn injuries into the eye and that is leading to their inability to hunt effectively and essentially starvation. I found this to be a really amazing story of investigative medicine and Veterinarians trying to isolate what the cause of this problem is. It must also be understood that when these countries are dealing with their own level of starvation it is very difficult for those on the outside to tell them that their increased farming is what's leading to this problem. The use of fencing and the development of large grasslands for grazing of cattle and modern agriculture has reduced the available habitat for the cheetah and is forcing them into the perimeter of the country where there normal hunting tactics are leading to devastating eye injuries. Governmental authorities in many of these areas are aware of the problem and are working to find solutions but is a difficult balancing act to say the least. Many of the areas occupied by the cheetah actually fall outside of protected lands .One small company called  Bushblocks  makes fire logs with the wood from these thorn bushes which is harvested in these areas and sending the money back so that even more of the thorny underbrush can be removed. There is currently a move to change the status of the cheetah to endangered which may generate more awareness and a greater level of protection for the species. This is something we will all have to watch over time.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Beth's infamous Christmas Letter 2016

Another blessed year has flown by.  Against most odds all parents are still muddling along. Sarah, Murphy, and Polly live at home mostly, Mac is a junior at University of Florida and Dani is living and working at the beach. We are down to 3 cats, 4 dogs, 2 canaries, 5 chickens, a crayfish, a salamander, and a squirrel (temporary, just waiting for him to get old enough to release). We have had lots of fun and adventures on trips to Cumberland, a family cruise to the Caribbean, a hiking trip to Utah and Colorado, a big trip to Nicaragua including climbing several volcanoes(except not one of the ones that we were planning to because it blew 2 weeks before we got there and it was closed) volcano surfing (the only place in the world you can do it), getting our advanced diving certification at Little Corn Island, veterinary conferences to Denver and Gainesville, a vet school 30th reunion at Palm Island, Florida and several jaunts to St. Augustine to spend the night at a Bed and Breakfast and shop or take a carriage ride to see all of the Christmas lights. We are about to build a 2-3 car garage with an apartment over it (everyone seems to think it is a Murphy apartment, I hope not) so Alan can have somewhere to keep his ’61 Corvette and work out equipment. We have permits and permission from Riverside Avondale Preservation (or The Peoples Republic of Avondale as Alan calls them) but have not broken ground yet.
Alan is currently killing himself doing P90X with Murphy and much less reliably, Polly. He had to give up tennis for 3 months due to a bad slip on our whale shark expedition and an old fracture at L5 that was anteriorly displaced but he is back beating himself up on the tennis courts again now. He has not learned enough in his 58 years not to get back on the Revellers board when they had a resignation (luckily its only for 2 more years or I would have to have imparted some of my wisdom on him!) He is still on the session at church, interviewing for UF vet school applicants, attending Gator and Jaguar home games, and just lost an associate vet who decided to leave before finishing her on call schedule, so he has to pick up Christmas day call now ( yes, I am disgruntled about this)! Alan’s story this year relates a snippet of our Nicaraguan trip and as it covers a sensitive matter I will let him tell it in his own words. I will say that climbing this volcano was the most difficult physical task that I have ever completed (keep in mind that I went through childbirth 4 times) and made me realize that somethings are beyond my physical capacities now. So in Alan’s words  "Our hike up Conception started at 5:30 am when we were picked up in the dark by two men in a truck. One was a portly driver who got winded just walking to the back of the truck (obviously not the guide)…the other (our guide) was a lean fit 20-something ex-Sandinista who does this trip once a week (we were in trouble). I should have turned back then. In the dark, with the mountain covered in fog, it doesn’t seem so daunting…but then you got started. It was STRAIGHT UP, like Tarzan climbing the escarpment. There was NO trail, none. We climbed over stumps and boulders and had to pull ourselves along with vines. There were a few showers to make sure we stayed wet so when the Nicaraguan sun came out we could get the full steamy eco-tourist experience. I have no idea how hot it was as my watch can’t measure in degrees Kelvin. I felt like Cool Hand Luke in the hotbox.  It took us over 5 hours to reach the summit with the last 200 yards being hot volcanic scree where you took 2 steps forward on your hands and knees and slid back 1, all the while sucking in sulfurous gas (Beth tried to blame me for that one, imagine that). After hours of rain forest conditions it was cold and windy on the top (30 mph gusts). The trip down was much harder taking us 6 ½ hours. I took 2 camel backs of water in my pack and ran out half way down. I can’t describe how much that sucked. We had to lower ourselves down over boulders and slipped and fell repeatedly on top of losing our guide a few times. After reaching the bottom we made it back to the farm we were staying and I realized as I pulled off my clothes to get in the shower that I should never have worn cotton…Yuge mistake. The 11 ½ hours of hiking in wet cotton apparently rubbed “things” a bit raw….as a matter of fact, a great deal more than a bit. I thought it might require some type of skin graft to ever appear normal again. To add insult to injury we were supposed to ride horses the next day through Gen. Samosa’s Plantation. I could hear the tour person laughing over the phone when Beth explained my “predicament “to her. We opted for a massage instead. This also turned out to be a...Yuge mistake. We caught a ride on a Tuk-Tuk to a bad part of town to see Milton Duarte…the famous masseuse. The dirt road with chickens running everywhere combined with the stares of the local street gangs added to the ambiance. I really think he did interrogation for Daniel Ortega during the revolution. I kid you not, bare concrete walls and a tin roof, one stained towel of questionable cleanliness and a table covered with bottles and jars. Apparently he is known for his "deep tissue" massage, and that doesn't even come close to an accurate description. After the pain my legs were already in and the 11 ½ hour hike in wet shorts induced rash in “the area” that won't be named ... This wasn't a good idea. To top it off he used some type of oil that should never come in contact with abraded skin (see previous note). I'm sure the screams ringing from the ghetto brought a smile to the old Sandinista's heart. Of course I couldn't see his reaction since my eyes were streaming tears uncontrollably at this point. To add to the experience, he was really working his @$$ off in this Club Gitmo of a room so that when he bent over, a torrent of his sweat dropped onto my face right in my eye socket ... Mixing with the tears and acrid oils to just heighten the experience like a Nicaraguan version of water boarding. " Despite this we had a great trip and pretty good stories.
I still work 3 days a week in a great practice with superb co-workers. I am so blessed to love (most days) what I get paid to do. I am working hard to avoid my parent’s diabetes and shapes by walking 3 miles daily, yoga 1-2 times weekly, High Intensity Interval Training twice weekly, and a walk, jog, sprint workout once weekly. I am fairly successful at achieving these goals. I muddle in my yard and garden and mostly enjoy the chickens' escapades, though the great raccoon chicken massacre was traumatic for all involved especially the 2 unfortunate hens that got grabbed. I noticed a stray cat hanging around and I decided that I needed to catch it, neuter it, and give it a Rabies vaccine since there were so many raccoons around. As a result I set out a trap and caught 8 raccoons, 1 opossum, and 2 of my cats twice. The raccoons and opossum were relocated as per Fish and Wildlife’s recommendations. The stray I thought was a male turned out to be a female and I know this because Murphy trapped her kitten. We still have not caught momma but at least there are less raccoons around to expose her to Rabies (and kitten gets her last shots and spayed in 10 days)! Some of my highlights of the year were the family cruise, the petroglyphs in Utah and Nicaragua, the fossils in Utah, hiking and surfing volcanos in Nicaragua, riding through the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon in Utah, hiking Peekaboo trail in Utah, swimming with the whale sharks in Mexico, fossil hunting on Raccoon key, hiking on Cumberland, and finally getting 3 pink lemons from my pink lemon tree (I’ve had it about 5 years now).
Sarah has 1 year left to finish her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She nannies, works at Merrill and Jacksonville Equine, pet sits, and does her full time student course load which includes 5 days a month in Tampa at Nova Southeastern for her exams and clinic stuff. She is still dating Jeff and he is a real trooper. He is patient with her hectic schedule and crazy family and here is a prime example. We decided to do a cruise for our family vacation and everyone (except Mac who suffers from seasickness) thought it would be a great adventure to go swimming with the whale sharks in Mexico as a full day excursion from Cozumel. We invited Jeff (who is not a big fan of the ocean). Mac was hopeful that Jeff would decide not to go swimming with the whale sharks and then he and Jeff could hang around in Cozumel at Carlos and Charley’s or Senior Frogs or find something more fun than 3-4 hours of potentially rough seas on a full day side trip. Sarah assured us that Jeff wanted to swim with the whale sharks and so Mac had no choice but to double up on the Meclizine like the rest of us and take the 45 minute ferry ride, hour bus ride, and 90 minute boat ride through rough seas (the trip had been cancelled for the previous week due to rough seas and had just calmed down enough that the tour guides were willing to risk it) to the whale shark viewing site 30 miles off the coast. The boat bobs in rough seas over the whale sharks, and a guide takes groups of 2 into the water over. You swim as long as you can watching the whale sharks while the boat goes back to collect the last 2 people and drop off the next batch before returning to collect you. Oh, did I mention that Jeff does not like the ocean, and what I didn’t know until after we got back from the excursion was that Jeff had never snorkeled before! Alan and I went first, then Polly and Murphy, then Jeff and Sarah. Sarah dropped over the side and frantically swam after the guide. Jeff was bobbing in 3 foot seas trying not to swallow a gallon of water through his snorkel and watching as Sarah instituted the Weldon emergency preparedness plan, every person for themselves! Alan, Polly, and I went in 4 times, Mac and Sarah 3 times, and Murphy and Jeff once each. As we headed back, the guide offered us sandwiches and everyone but Sarah vigorously declined, Mac promptly threw up despite the double Meclizine. We made the almost 3 hour return trip to the cruise ship. I hope Jeff saw the whale sharks, he said he had fun, I fussed at Sarah and asked why she would put him through that, I’m not sure you could plan a more unpleasant experience for someone not overly fond of the ocean who had never snorkeled before, but she said he wanted to do it. I told her he was a keeper as well as a sport to cheerfully put up with conditions like that just to make her happy!
Dani is still living at the beach with Mishka and Eleni and loves it so much that we rarely see her unless she has a Mishka or Huck (her roommate Elenis new kitten) problem. She came home when Huck was not feeling well, when Mishka needed some blood work, when she was headed out of town to drop Mishka for a visit, and when they turned the power off at the beaches to enforce mandatory evacuation from the beach for hurricane Matthew! No matter the reason I am always happy to see her. Dani and Polly took Mishka and River to  the pool for a dip. While River was excitedly leaping in and out of the pool Mishka watched from the side barking her warning to River, at least until she fell in, sunk like a stone, and had to be fished out! Mishka has her own life jacket now to hopefully avoid future mishaps! Dani and a bunch of friends went camping, canoeing, and kayaking down the Sewanee near Gainesville for a fun excursion and she visited Nik in Atlanta on her way to the mountains for a vacation this summer. Even Dani has been to a Jaguar game this season (in the club section no less) and yet still no home wins. Dani is looking for a new job that encompasses both accounting and marketing and that might offer her an opportunity to get a Masters in business. Hopefully she won't have tomove to Atlanta to find what she is looking for.
Murphy is still working his way through college. He is not particularly interested in anything, which makes it harder. He loves River and Dribbles (dog and cat). He and his friends make a pretty mean trivia team. He is very kind to Meme and Pop and plays Sequence with Pop most weeks as well as giving him rides to and from appointments when he can. He and 4 friends took a road trip to Charleston to eat, drink, be merry, visit museums, and take a ghost tour. They stayed at one of the guys roommates parents rental property, a 5 bedroom beach house. Apparently they did such a great job cleaning up that the owners said they were welcome to come back. Maybe I should invite Ben, Mac, Peter, and Chris to come visit here for a weekend because Murph's not keeping this house very clean! He helped Robert put up Meme and Pops hurricane shutters and we all made it through Matthew with only a few days of no power. Murph was home alone 3 weeks later when a tree from the park fell on our porch and crushed the porch roof and part of the deck and fence. 7 weeks later the city has not removed the tree, too bad it didn’t happen during the hurricane, that debris was removed in less than a week! Murphy seems to have "a bad motivator" which is one reason why he is still working on graduating (that plus the multiple times he has changed his major and schools). I'm going to go out on a limb and predict he will graduate by next December. Keep your fingers crossed!
Polly is working at Merrill and Jacksonville Equine and pet sits too. She is applying to vet school at Florida this year (they didn’t receive her transcript last year). She is working on a couple of research projects that she hopes to publish as well. Momo is still her pride and joy but she has added Gandolph the Cray and Alexander salamander and Quirrel the squirrel to her menagerie. Polly described the "worst day of her life" earlier this year one night at dinner time. It started with a doctor's appointment which included a vaccine (Polly is needle phobic). She left the doctor's and headed to work but on the way got a flat tire. She called work to let them know she was running late and got out to change the tire. She was annoyed when a "creepy" guy stopped, watched her change the tire, and then after she finished, offered to help. She hurried to work, walked in, and Becky pointed out to her that her pants were split wide open in the back, (hence the creepy guy watching instead of helping). Her first client was a large woman with a small sick dog. She had no shoes on (not sure why) and had trouble getting up from her chair in the waiting room so Polly helped her. As she headed towards the exam room, the woman tripped on her dog, fell on top of Polly, knocking her to the floor, and burst into tears sobbing on Polly who was trapped underneath her, and telling her to please just put her and her dog out of their misery while Polly lay pinned to the floor unable to move! Polly has been attending the Jaguar games with us and it hasn't been a good year for them. Last week she entertained herself at the game by watching a drunk opposing team couple. They were standing the whole time so the elderly couple behind them could not see. This in-sensed

















her for some reason, so after a quarter of the elderly couple peeking around them, Polly went to the security guy and reported them. He asked them nicely to sit some of the time so people behind them could see. The female tried to get the male to be considerate but he became belligerent. She turned and apologized to the elderly couple and they just tried to watch the game but now the wobbly drunk man was turned around talking to them and touching them and blocking their view even more. So security came to escort them out and as they carried the drunken guy out because he couldn't walk, the woman turned around trying to spot who ratted them out, when her eyes met Pollys 3 rows up, Polly gave her a head nod and the women's eyes widened, shocked that such an innocent looking person could be the cause of her demise! Polly said it was her best experience at the stadium this year because justice was served!
Mac is a junior in Civil engineering at UF. He loves UF and just had a road trip to LSU with his core of friends for “the best football experience of his life” (keep in mind the Jaguars have set that bar pretty low recently). He plays intramural football, soccer, and kickball with his friends and his goal this year was to win at least one game. At 0 for 28, he did not succeed. Apparently either a very unlucky group or not a very athletic one. Polly had to room with Mac and Murphy on the family cruise this summer. After unpacking, they came to our room and Polly was complaining that her room smelled like poop and B.O. within 5 minutes of their arrival.  Mac observed "yeah, you really won the roommate lottery, didn't you!" Mac has been working on becoming an adult. He moved out of the dorms so he could learn to pay his bills, do his own grocery shopping and cooking, clean his apartment, do his own laundry (at least I hope he is doing it), and learn to live independently.  Every now and then he and his roommates cook and eat a meal together. They decided that it would be nice to do a roommate/friend Thanksgiving and prepare an entire Thanksgiving feast. Mac is my turkey helper and he gets up early on Thanksgivings to help me make stuffing, stuff the turkey, load it in the bag, and put it in the oven. As a result, he knows how long it takes to cook a turkey, but what he didn't take into account was how long it takes to thaw a turkey! Mac went out, bought a frozen turkey, stuffed it, put it in a bag, and tried to cook it. It took longer than he had anticipated to cook, so when it was finally done he took it out and carved it immediately without removing the stuffing. After carving it, he started looking for the stuffing but the turkey was so moist (probably from the melted ice) that the stuffing had just mixed with the juices and carved meat and it was one big mush! But he said it tasted good and everyone enjoyed the feast (except the unexpected vegan who couldn't eat anything because they didn't know she was coming and everyone had used butter!)

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to all and have a Happy New Year! Love, Alan, Beth, Sarah, Dani, Murphy, Polly, and Mac

Monday, July 06, 2015

Alan & Beth Hiking the Inca Trail Videos

Here are the links to some YouTube videos I posted from our trip to Peru. They were shot with a GoPro Silver 4 and edited down to about 20 minutes each. There are broken down by days on the trail and there is an extra one from out days in the Ica desert.

Inca Trail Day 1


Image result for inca trail to machu picchu


Inca Trail Day 2






Inca Trail Day 3





3 days in the desert with Penny Cabrera




Saturday, July 04, 2015

Google University Graduates

For many years I like many other scientists have had to deal with the newly minted Google graduates.
Don't get me wrong, the massive amounts of data that is available now at the touch of a button is nothing less that astounding. Google can be a powerful tool much like PubMed when searching for scientific articles but there is a drawback....just because someone publishes it (book,journal,lecture,blog post,twitter) doesnt make it true. We all still suffer somewhat with our early educational training in school where what we read and were told was known to be true. Now when you read something there is still that default position that "it must be true" as opposed to being a healthy skeptic and asking " can that be true". This leads me into the current internet/and public media battle over "The Food Babe" and her campaign against "Toxins".Image result for the food babe Dont get me wrong here....I'm a firm believer that as a society we are eating the wrong stuff. We now consume a diet heavily tilted towards refined carbohydrates and wage war on saturated fat. This is the opposite of what we should be eating. I personally avoid grain based products and eat lots of meats,fats and  vegetables....mostly what would fall I guess in a Paleo approach to eating. Term it how you wish ,it just feels normal to me. I am concerned about the use of GMO in our food supply for one main reason. Making your product resistant to a herbicide so you can spray your food supply with more herbicide just doesnt seem right to me. It is a brilliant scientific development as well as a great business innovation, but Im not comfortable ingesting herbicides.....even if at "safe" levels. The Food Babe has taken it upon herself to be the gatekeeper for scientific knowledge for a large number of people who follow her blog and book. If the gatekeeper gets it wrong.....then many are set on the wrong path because they have been misinformed. The Food Babe has weighed into the vaccine debate as one of the now growing "Anti-vaxer" community which I fear can lead to a resurgence in diseases we currently have the upper hand on. Looking at what she has written I have problems across the board with statements and conclusions that are drawn and apparently I'm not alone . here is a link someone else who has problems.The Food Babe is full of $%!T

Also here is a link to theImage result for the food babe
  Food Babe website ...read with caution.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hendra Virus

There has been a serious viral problem in Australia since 1994 but now there is a new problem occurring. There is an anti-vaccination movement that is causing many many problems. Heres a link to a recent article forwarded from a friend in Oz about the problem.http://m.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/anti-vaccine-hendra-scare-campaign-causing-horse-deaths-on-the-gold-coast/story-fnj94idh-1227397685547

The virus is a flu like disease that can also cause neurologic signs and is highly fatal. It can be spread from horse to humans as well which makes this a serious public health concern for those in the Equine industry ...including Veterinarians. There is a vaccine available but it is expensive and many think that it is unnesessary and as a consequence are putting their horses ,themselves and their Veterinarian at risk. While Hendra isnt a problem in the US it highlights the "anti-vaxer" movements here as well. While we always needs to shine the bright light of scientific rigor on anything we give to our animals and ourselves, we also have to accept the data that disproves certain fears. This point is aimed at the so called link between autism and vaccines. There is NO evidence to even suggest that this exhists. There is however some interesting data emerging suggesting a link between autism and several other diseases and an altered GI microbiome. How this occurs is multifactorial but antibiotic use,C-section delivery and certain pesticides are current targets.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) H5N2 ....something you might want to keep track of

Avian Influenza has been on the radar for quite a while as it has shown transmission from birds to humans and there have been minor outbreaks in several countries in Asia. Influenza virus is typically classified by the 2 major surface antigens H and N . There is a strain currently causing a major problem in the US bird and poultry population that may lead to problems at your grocery store. While infections in people make the news ,infections in chickens and turkeys usually dont. Here is an update on the current outbreak in the US that you should follow.
Heres a link to some data on the latest outbreak http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/avian_influenza/


" 7 additional cases of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus have been confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  Outbreaks occurred in Iowa at turkey farms in Hamilton County (19,600 birds) and Sac County (42,200 birds).  In Minnesota, outbreaks were reported at turkeys farms in Brown County (39,000 birds), Kandiyohi County (4,000 birds), and Renville County (4,800 birds) and a chicken farm in Renville County (15,000 birds).  Nebraska reported an outbreak in a backyard flock in Dixon County.  To prevent further spread of the disease, all affected premises have been quarantined, and the surviving birds culled. Premises in four counties in Arizona were placed under quarantine Friday (6/12/15) because they had received chicken, quail or pheasant birds or eggs from a farm in Iowa in the week before H5N2 was detected. The Iowa farm is suspected to have shipped similar samples to other parts of the country. Follow up investigation, including laboratory testing, is being conducted."




 While this sounds like a lot of birds (and it is) its still a small percentage of the overall commercial bird population. It still points out that this could be devastating to our domestic poultry production and make your fried chicken dinner more costly than you are used to . Lets hope we can get a handle on its spread or we may be even more thankful for that Turkey this Thanksgiving.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hurricane Preparedness Seminar

Ill be talking tonight at the Clay County Fairgrounds about Hurricane Preparedness. Here is my Check list and a brief synopsis
Disaster preparedness for horse owners


As Hurricane season is upon us here in Florida it is past time to seriously address the task of preparation. Efforts taken today can save a great deal of anxiety and heartache in the future. Unfortunately, many of us are procrastinators by nature and wait until the news reports of the approaching storm prod us into some form of action. Every year when this happens you find yourself frantically wandering the isles of your local store searching empty shelves for bottled water and batteries with several hundred of your closest friends and neighbors. This doesn’t need to happen. With just a little time and effort now you will find yourself much more prepared and not just another aimless zombie in the golden hoard. Even if you are like me and lack the “organizational gene” you will find that following some simple guidelines can help get you ready for the eventual day when, as they say…. the manure hits the oscillating rotator. By breaking things down into simple check lists you can start getting the things you need and the things you need to get done checked off. You probably already have many of these items and just need to get them together and inventoried.

Here are the disaster preparedness check lists we have for our clients. Some things may apply to your area and others will not and need to be adjusted to your geographical threats. The basics are the same regardless if the threat is a hurricane, wildfire, earthquake or electrical grid failure. I have broken these down into 1. Horses, 2. Farm, 3. Home, and tried to cover the important items and tasks you will need to do. In the need of evacuation many of these things will need to be organized into appropriate “go bags” or “storage bins” so duplication of documents and some supplies may be needed.

HORSES:

Vaccinations- All horses should be vaccinated with Tetanus toxoid yearly. Mosquitoes increase significantly after the hurricane and transmit the Encephalitis viruses; therefore vaccination with Eastern&Western Encephalitis as well as West Nile Virus should be boostered prior to storm season.

Coggins test- Make sure you have a current negative Coggins test and that it doesn’t expire during hurricane season. These are required for interstate transport so have several certified copies for (truck, trailer and important papers folder /scanned copy on a flash drive)

Health Certificate- these are required for transport as well. You can obtain a six month event permit which will allow movement into adjoining states. (Have extra certified copies)

Identification- Make sure your horse has a microchip ID and register the number. Name tags on the halter “may” stay on but usually don’t and won’t help if your horse is stolen or “adopted” after the storm. Identification of horses that have died is extremely difficult after days in storm conditions as they all look the same. Evidence from work done in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina showed that Microchip ID allowed positive identification in >90% of cases. During Hurricane Andrew in Florida it was almost the exact opposite since microchip ID wasn’t required in Florida and was not readily available then. Most of the dead horses were never identified.

Evacuation- Decide early if you are going to evacuate and have a destination prearranged .Contact family members or camp grounds that allow horses. Map out your evacuation route and all alternate roads to get there. Have several maps in each vehicle. Leave at least 72 hours before the storm gets close as roads and bridges will be clogged with traffic and higher winds as the storm approaches may close some bridges to trailer traffic leaving you stranded.

Important documents- keep copies of health records, Coggins test, health certificate, ID numbers and photos in a Ziploc bag. Also, store copies on a portable flash drive to be printed later if needed. Keep spares in each truck and trailer.

If you are not evacuating then it probably safer to turn your horses out in a large open pasture that has VERY few trees, if any. Most injuries occur from collapsed barns and flying debris. Just think about the fact that your barn was probably built to take advantage of the prevailing breeze to keep it cool and most likely done by the lowest bidder. That’s a bad combo with a CAT 3-4 Hurricane.

FARM: (Walk your property, visual inspection.)

Check and repair all fences. Remove any barbed wire.

Clear trees and dead limbs (clear all red maple, it only takes a few wilted leaves to induce renal failure in the horse….and they will eat them).

Remove all debris. This becomes flying projectiles

Store all jumps, tables and chairs in a barn stall roped together.

Get “tie-downs” for trailers, park them in a large open paddock away from trees and power lines. Park trucks and tractor there as well. Make sure they are all fully fueled.

Store feed- 7 day supply stored in water proof containers (1lb /100lbs body weight x 7 days per horse)

Store hay in barn under waterproof tarp and off the ground on pallets

Water supply- 15-20 gal/horse/day. You can fill up troughs, boats,55 gal barrels, swimming pools etc. Bleach can be used to purify contaminated water (8 drops /gal) but horses may not drink it if treated. A hand “pitcher pump” for your well is also valuable with power outages. Dehydration and renal failure is a common source of death in horses after hurricanes.

Generator- 4hp (4000-5000 watts) with gas to last 7 days. This can be done with 4x5 gallon cans using the generator intermittently. Tri fuel options on generators are a great addition.

Extension cords- 4 long 100ft

Tools-

-Hammers and nails( you need a large and varied supply)

- fencing materials-field fence, fence tape, posts and staples

-chainsaw, spare chain, gas and 2 cycle oil, bar chain oil

-ropes and tow cable, chain with hooks

- Ladders

-wire cutters and long handle pry bar (can still get to supplies if barn collapses)

- roll of black plastic sheeting and staple gun to cover broken windows and roof leaks

- flood light-work light with car adapter (1 million candle power), head lamps for hands free work

-waders or snake boots

Extra halters and ropes- stored in sealed plastic bins

Medical supplies-

-Bandage material (sheet cotton, gauze, telfa pads, vet wrap, duct tape

-wound medication (betadine scrub, Nolvasan solution and ointment, triple antibiotic ointment)

-anti-inflammatory meds (Banamine, Phenylbutazone)

-Sedatives (Acepromazine, Xylazine)

-Antibiotics (Trimethoprim sulfa tablets, Procaine penicillin)

-insect repellant

-syringes and needles

-scissors and knife

-clean towels

Ask your veterinarian for help and dosages on medications that you need, we are there to help and educate.

HOME:

-water supply, 1 gal/person/day. A “water bob” ($20) can be placed in the bathtub and once filled up holds 100 gallons of water and comes with its own hand pump.

-Food storage, plan on at least 2-3 weeks supply. It could be longer depending upon the level of disruption. The objective is to maintain independence and not be dependent upon rescue or food supplied at refugee centers. Trust me; historically it never works out well for the refugees. Most canned foods are good for at least 2 years. Canned dried storage foods can be good for up to 30 years as are freeze dried foods. These can be set aside in a closet or under a bed in a guest room for a time when needed. Choose foods that you like and fit into your regular diet. You should plan for several meals a day as you do now and shop accordingly. Many online sites and the LDS church provide sources for long term storage food.

-Generator, some form of electricity will greatly help when the lights go out. This will allow you to maintain refrigeration, cooking, lights and connection with the outside world. Gas to keep it running. Be aware of exhaust and fire dangers and keep it well ventilated. Deflate the tires and chain/padlock it to something to prevent theft.

-Solar lights, these outdoor LED lights can be brought indoors at night and provide light for about 6 hours. They are bright enough to use for reading and are much safer than candles and lamps. Once charged the batteries can be disconnected until needed.

-Gas grill, for cooking and boiling water. Keep at least one extra bottle of propane on hand as the grill will get a lot of use.

-Medical supplies, bandage materials, antibiotic ointment, anti-diarrheal meds, anti-inflammatory meds (Advil, Tylenol) , any prescription medications you are currently on. Injuries such as burns and cuts associated with farm accidents should be your focus.

-A small cheap window unit air conditioner, keep stored in the box in a closet. This will provide an unbelievable relief in the hot humid post hurricane power outage (this is why you need a generator). We kept this in our bedroom and slept like a baby with our kids and all our nieces and nephews sleeping on the floor because we had A/C.

-Cash, with power disruptions the banks and ATMs will be non-functional. Having cash on hand will enable you to at least be more flexible.

-Firearms, while it may seem unnecessary to some, you may want to rethink this position. Police protection, phone service and street lights will all be disrupted leaving those in our society that thrive on those conditions to be emboldened. The sound of a generator and lights can send them a signal that you have “stuff”. While much has been written on which guns are best, I tend to think that the best gun is the one you have and are comfortable using. The simplicity of a shotgun with appropriate sized shot is a nice deterrent. Remember that having to defend yourself with a firearm will change your life forever but it may be a price you have to pay to keep your loved ones safe.

I’m sure this could be expanded many fold but keeping it simple is a great way for many to get started. Going over the list every year and adding to it to fit your needs is another way to keep the process of preparation moving forward. Remember to keep some extra supplies for charity as many of your neighbors may not be as well prepared or could be more severely affected by storm damage. Be prepared to help them.


The storm is coming; it’s time to get ready.

CHECK LIST
Farm & Barn  To Do List
o  -Make sure ALL horses are micro chipped and numbers recorded

o  -Check and repair fences (walk the fence line)

o  Clear trees and limbs

o  -Remove debris

o  -Store jumps/tables/chairs

o  -Examine barn for loose shingles/debris

o  -Move tractor,trucks and trailers into large pasture

o  -Spare fuel, store in trailer or stall, four 5 gallon cans, and all vehicle tanks full

o  -Get tie downs for trucks and trailers

o  -Store feed-7 day supply-in water proof containers

o  -Store hay under tarps in a stall off the ground

o  -Water-15-20 gal/horse/day (fill up boats, 55 gal barrels,pools, troughs)   (Bleach –8 drops/gallon if contaminated)
o  -cut off power to the barn as storm approaches

Farm & Barn Equipment list

o  WATER-Hand pump for well (pitcher pump)

o  WATER-55 gal drums (down spout on barn)

o  WATER-pond,lake,pool,boats,troughs

o  -Generator 4 hp or higher (5000 watt)

o  -Extension cords(50-100 ft)

o  -Tools- hammers/nails

o  Fencing materials –field fence (no barbed wire) fence tape and posts.


o  Chainsaw-extra chain, 2 cycle oil, bar /chain oil/gas

o  Ropes and tow cable, chain with hooks


o  Ladder

o  Wire cutters and pry bar


o  Rolls of black plastic and staple gun, large tarps

o  Flood lights- work light and hand held car plug in type (1 million candle power) Headlamps


o  Waders or snake boots
o  Extra halters and lead ropes (in plastic storage bin)
Medical supplies

o  Wound medications (betadine scrub, nolvasan ointment, triple antibiotic)
o  Bandage material ( sheet cotton, vet wrap, leg wraps, telfa pads, duct tape)

o  Anti-inflammatory meds- Banamine, Bute

o  Sedatives- Acepromazine, Xylazine

o  Antibiotics- SMZ tablets, Procaine Penicillin

o  Insect repellant

o  Syringes and needles
o  Antibiotic eye ointment






Personal supplies
o  -Canned food or MRE’s (some last for 25 years)

o  -WATER-freeze 2 liter bottles (can use to keep your fridge cool) Yeti coolers are great and can keep food cool for days.

o  -WATER- ( a “Water Bob” , place in bathtub, will hold 55 Gallons, cost $20)
o  -WATER- Additional water source, 55 gal drum set up under gutter down spout. Drill and tap with standard spigot.

o  -multiple head lamps, better than flash lights as your hands will be free to work
o  -Generator and extension cords

o  -Gas grill (spare Gas cylinder)


o  -Small cheap A/C unit ($ 100) store in closet

o  -Solar yard lights. Leave out during the day and bring in a night ( no heat and safer than candles and lamps)

o  -Cash- with power out ATM’s and banks won’t be open

o  -Fire arms (if you have a generator everyone will know)
o  (A great deal of looting and theft takes place after   storms)
o  - Personal medical supplies

Important Documents
o  Scan copies (or take digital photos) of all important documents and put them on a flash drive, ie. Health Certificates, Coggins, Microchip ID numbers, photos of horses, registration papers, proof of ownership.
o  Personal papers- marriage certificate, birth certificates, driver’s license, SSN, credit cards
o  Video all of your valuable items for insurance documentation
o  Keep extra flash drives in multiple places ,trailer, glove box, by back door ( be careful if sensitive info on these drives)

Evacuation Plan
o  Know where you are going
o  Notify friends and family (when and where you are going and how to contact you)
o  Plan your route, have maps, extra fuel, how long will you be on the road.
o  Pack supplies/feed and hay
o  Personal supplies, important papers, flash drive,$$$$$$
o  72 hour rule- get out before traffic gets heavy and weather turns bad (bridges close with high winds)
o  Turn off power