A Team Effort: Pet Evacuations and the CZU Lightning Complex Fire

Many of us were woken in the middle of the night on August 16, 2020 by a violent wind and dry lightning storm. But perhaps few of us were aware that we would be evacuating our homes hours or days later. The CZU Lightning Complex fire, which started from dry lightning strikes in our beloved Santa Cruz Mountains, ultimately caused the evacuation of over 64,000 people, burned over 80,000 acres in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, and destroyed over 1400 buildings, according to Cal Fire. 

In addition to the many people who were evacuated from homes, countless pets and livestock were also saved from the flames. Animals were rescued by their owners and neighbors, and also by teams of selfless volunteers and animal services workers. Today, we are focusing on these amazing efforts.

A Team Effort

From chickens to llamas, and everything in between, temporary shelters opened to animals of every size and shape. Small pets of evacuees, like dogs and cats, were given free temporary housing at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Locals can also pick up supplies and pet food for free. Various veterinary clinics and boarding facilities around the county stepped up to provide temporary free pet housing to animals evacuated due to the wildfires. Our friends at Pacific Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital were willing to help with prescription refills and other questions while we were closed. Not surprisingly for the Santa Cruz Mountains, hundreds of chickens were housed at the Shelter! 

If they could not be moved to temporary housing with friends, large animals were temporarily housed at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. An all volunteer group of experienced large animal handlers, the Santa Cruz County Large Animal Emergency Evacuation Unit, responded to hundreds of calls for help in evacuating horses, cows, llamas, pigs, donkeys, goats and sheep from the fire areas. This incredible team not only evacuated frightened and often injured animals, they cared for these animals under the guidance of a veterinarian at the Fairgrounds until the evacuation orders were lifted or other arrangements for the animals’ care could be made. 

Back Home, At Felton Veterinary Hospital

Like all of you, we too were evacuated from our homes and the hospital was closed. We can’t imagine the turmoil in your lives during this time. The outpouring of love and support throughout Santa Cruz County and beyond has truly been a thing to behold. And we feel incredibly fortunate to be able to open again to seeing our friends and patients. We’ve enjoyed reconnecting with you (from your cars!) and being able to treat your animal companions once again. 

As we all navigate the next months and years of rebuilding homes and lives, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of assistance with your pets. We are here for you!

The Light Fantastic: Laser Therapy For Pets

Is your older kitty “slowing down?” Has your agility dog suffered an injury that just won’t heal? In these and many other scenarios, it’s possible that laser therapy could be the answer to your pet’s pain and discomfort. 

Used for years in humans, laser therapy for pets uses Class IV laser light to stimulate healthy cell growth, repair damaged cells, and promote healing and pain relief. 

At Felton Veterinary Hospital, we are proud to offer this therapy, and we are thrilled to share the benefits with our patients and friends. 

How Does Laser Therapy for Pets Work?

The laser light is delivered using a handpiece that is moved over your pet’s body, similar to an ultrasound. Light particles penetrate painlessly through your pet’s skin and tissues and are absorbed by the cells. The cells in turn are stimulated, and respond with a higher rate of metabolism. The results are pain relief, decreased inflammation, and accelerated healing. 

Benefits of laser therapy reach across a wide variety of symptoms. Benefits include:

  • Reduced swelling
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased blood flow and improved circulation
  • Lowered chances of infection
  • Accelerated tissue repair and growth
  • Increased mobility
  • Improved nerve function
  • Immunoregulation

Laser Therapy for Your Pet

Laser therapy has no damaging side effects and is completely safe. If your pet’s veterinarian finds that your pet could benefit, we will work with you to form a treatment plan. 

Laser therapy can be used for any pet who is healing or experiencing pain. There is no sedation required, and each treatment typically takes 15 minutes or less. Animals seem to enjoy their treatments, and become so relaxed they may even fall asleep! 

Some conditions that we commonly treat with laser therapy include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Wounds 
  • Post surgical recovery
  • Muscle, tendon, or ligament strains
  • Burns
  • Abscesses
  • Chronic ear or skin infections
  • Certain neurological conditions
  • Dental disease

If you have questions about how laser therapy can benefit your pet, please call us or schedule an appointment. We’re happy to help determine the best plan for your pet’s individual needs.