Tuesdays with Tony
Yes, I know I do this every year around June 1st, but it’s because you humans are very bad at listening. Hurricane season has officially begun. It’s time to play, “Let’s get prepared for a disaster!” The Farm Version.
Hurricanes love to pick stuff up and throw it around. Look around the farm for those items. Make a burn pile for the stuff that can get burned, and a dump pile for the stuff that can’t. Once in piles, actually remove them. Most of the area has now had some rain, so no excuses! Burn that burn pile. While you’re in the burning mood, check out any tree limbs that look sketchy. Add them to the pile, too. No need to wait for anything for the dump run. Bonus: Dump runs can usually be counted on for some entertainment from other humans making dump runs as well. Most important: do something with the debris. Don’t let it sit around until the next Hurricane Michael is at Cedar Key. At that point everyone in your county will be at the dump trying to get rid of their debris. Be a smart human!
Identify your stuff
Microchip your horse. It’s easy. It’s cost effective. It’s permanent. Do it now. Also works for your dogs and cats. I say it works for humans too, but some frown on that. If you’ve followed my microchip advice already, now is the time to make sure the information attached to that chip is correct. My minions can help with that if you need help figuring out how. It can be a little complicated if you don’t know which company made your chip.
Identify more than just your pets and relatives, though. Take a few minutes to shoot a video or take pictures of your truck and trailer, vehicles, tack room, and barn. Anything you think you would claim on insurance should be documented. Those phones you humans carry around to take pictures of yourself and your horse can be used for this, too! Upload it to that place called the cloud so it’s safe. A few moments now can save you a ton of hassles with insurance later. Might want to check on that insurance thing while you’re at it as well. Make sure you know what you do and don’t have covered. I hear flood insurance is the biggie you don’t know you need until you need it.
Stockpile a few things
Think about what you will need if power is out. Take advantage of the Tax Holiday in Florida on some things. Common stuff you can stockpile now include batteries, flashlights, tarps, duct tape (can you ever have enough?), and gas cans. Horses drink a LOT of water. Think now about how you are going to provide that water. Plastic trash cans with lids work great! Large water troughs work well, too. Whatever you are going to use, now is the time to make sure you have it, and it doesn’t leak. If you are going to evacuate (more on that in a sec), be sure you have enough water and feed buckets for everyone. Speaking of food, have a plan for getting feed and hay up off the ground in case flooding becomes a problem.
Should I stay or should I go?
There’s a different answer for everyone, but the important thing now is to make a plan. Even if you intend on staying, you should still make an evacuation plan. It’s just a good idea. The tricky part about evacuating with horses is the timing. You need to leave the area 4-5 days before the projected hit. Traffic is way too bad if you wait until the last minute. I promise that you don’t want to ride out a hurricane with your horses in a trailer in the middle of a traffic jam.
Now is the time to call places you may evacuate to and find out what they require. The Agriculture Inspection Station will often waive the Health Certificate requirement during evacuations. However, your destination will likely require a Coggins at a minimum, and may require certain vaccines as well. Check your Coggins now on ALL the horses you might evacuate. Getting them done as a routine appointment is so, so much easier than doing them as an emergency. Bonus: my Docs can microchip your horses at the same time! Easy peasey.
We all like to pretend hurricanes are no big deal, but this cat has been around long enough to know you humans don’t really believe that. The way you’re glued to Mike’s Weather Page the moment something stirs out there in the ocean says you care. Spend some time now getting ready, and then you can enjoy that hurricane party as you watch for Jim Cantore’s latest location.
All well-trained humans will now scroll down to the subscribe button. Press the button, enter your email, and get my blog a day before everyone else. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!
Until next week,
P.S. This was the short, sweet version. If you want more, the humans have a fantastic podcast called Straight from the Horse Doctor’s Mouth, and they have two episodes that focus on all things disaster prep. You can find it over on the Podcast Page, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!