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Vet Clinics in the Northeast Struggle with Loss of Power, Flooding

Posted: Oct. 31, 2012, 6:30 p.m. EDT

Like many businesses in storm-ravaged parts of New York City and New Jersey, veterinary clinics and hospitals continue to feel the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy.

BluePearl Veterinary Partners, which runs three 24-hour emergency and referral hospitals in New York City for pets, did not lose power during the storm, but many others did.

The BluePearl hospitals have generators, none of which incurred any flood damage, noted David Wohlstadter, senior emergency clinician with BluePearl.

Sandy aftermath
New Yorkers assess the damage from Superstorm Sandy in the East Village of Manhattan, N.Y., with their dogs in tow as an emergency vehicle speeds past.
Credit: EdenPictures.
“We saw a lot of cases from animal hospitals that would have potentially been open,” he said. “Referring vets sent us cases since their power went down.”

BluePearl’s Manhattan location saw 25 cases over the course of last night.

“We’re not seeing any storm-related injuries,” Wohlstadter said. “We are seeing injuries and illnesses that we would otherwise see, such as a vomiting or diarrhea.”

Wohlstadter noted BluePearl Manhattan had also seen an influx of some displaced people with their pets come in.

“People can bring their pets to New York City shelters,” he continued, “so some of the cases we are seeing are from people figuring out where they are going to stay.”

The hardest hit areas were downtown Manhattan, parts of Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and The Rockaways.

“The biggest challenge right now for veterinarians is if they were flooded or have direct storm damage or their power is out because they can’t refrigerate medicines and biological,” said Wohlstadter.
 
Communication is down, including cell phone coverage, making it difficult, perhaps impossible, for veterinarians to communicate with their clients, he explained.

“If you’re trying to get a hold of anybody below 34th Street, you’re going to have trouble getting a hold of them because they are without power.”

City officials are saying the power should be back on in downtown Manhattan by the weekend of Nov. 3-4, while subway service will be partially restored by tomorrow, but not below 34th Street, Wohlstadter reported.

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