Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Animals and Shelters: Nuclear Disaster to Armageddon!

What is the most important thing owners can do to protect their animals in a Nuclear Disaster?
  • Plan ahead. Animal owners should make plans in advance with friends, relatives, or shelters for housing their pets in a disaster. This will be helpful for a nuclear accident or any natural disaster.
  • Animal owners should be encouraged to purchase pet carriers.
  • Owners can use regular veterinary check-ups to practice evacuation plans from their homes.
  • Owners should have copies of their pet’s health records, including rabies vaccination.
  • Owners should have their pets micro-chipped for easy identification in an emergency.
What is KI treatment and what does it do?
  • Potassium iodide (KI) is a salt of iodine. It is one of several ingredients that can be added to tale salt to make it iodized.
  • KI has also been approved by the FDA as a nonprescription drug for use as a “blocking agent” to prevent the human thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine.
  • December 10, 2001 the Food and Drug Administration issued Guidance: Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies for use of KI in humans during a radiological emergency. There is no such national guidance for use of KI in animals available.
  • KI has a wide margin of safety, however like all medications, KI can be toxic if dosed incorrectly. Documented side effects include vomiting, drooling, runny eyes, rash, collapse and death. KI should not be used in animals with a known allergy to iodine. Suggested dose guidelines are listed below.
  • KI is a medication that can be given to humans and animals.
  • KI may not provide people or animals with 100% protection against all radioactive iodine.
  • The effectiveness of KI as a thyroid blocking agent is greatest if administered before the time of exposure to radioactive iodine, but some exposure saving can be obtained by administration shortly after exposure.
Should pets be given KI for radiological emergencies?
There are no guidelines for administration of KI for pets during an emergency. However, your clients may ask you to give KI to their pets if they have received it Potassium Iodide (KI) Treatment forAnimals Following a Nuclear Disaster because of a radiological exposure. Administration of KI should be determined by you with the owner. The following information is provided to assist you with that decision. This information is provided as guidance and recommendations only.
  • KI lessens the damage to the thyroid from radioactive iodine only. KI does not protect against other harmful radioactive rays released during a nuclear disaster.
  • Radiation is most harmful to young, actively growing animals.
  • KI must be given before or within 4 hours of exposure to be effective.
  • KI is an over-the-counter medication and you may want to stock it if there is demand in your area or special order it for the owner.
  • Do not give KI to your pet if it is sensitive to iodine.
  • Consider the age of the animal. Young animals have the highest risk of health problems from radioactive iodine and radioactive iodine causes long-term potential for thyroid cancer. Therefore, if the animal is elderly there is little chance the animal will get thyroid cancer in its lifetime (one estimate for humans was about 4 years) and elderly pets may have more problems with side effects from the KI.
Note: If a pet has been left on the property during an exposure and the owner is unable to retrieve it before 4 hours then KI will not be effective. If the pet is evacuated with the owner prior to exposure to radiation, there is no need for KI. It is our recommendation that KI only be considered for the pet if the owner has received it and the pet is with the owner.
Where can veterinarians find information regarding dosing and efficacy of KI?
Journal articles on the subject include:
  • Use of radioiodine urinalysis for effective thyroid blocking in the first few hours post exposure - Health Phys 1999 Jan;76(1):11-6
  • Potassium iodate and its comparison to potassium iodide as a blocker of 131I uptake by the thyroid in rats - Health Phys 1993 Nov;65(5):545-9
    • Reference the abstracts on page 3 of this document
    • KI comes in 130 mg and 65 mg bottles. Pro-KI™ 65 mg recommends the following dosages for pets (www.aaoobfoods.com/NBC.htm):
      • Large dogs: 1.0-2.0 tablets per day
      • Medium dogs: 0.5-1.0 tablets per day
      • Cats and small dogs: 0.25-0.5 tablet per day
Where can I get further information?
    • Contact your veterinarian with questions relating to KI and your pets.
    • www.nukepills.com has information about KI pills.
    • Mississippi Board of Animal Health (1-888-722-3106; www.mbah.state.ms.us)

Make a Pet Disaster Supply Kit

Your pet depends on you for care after a disaster. The following are items you should place in a pet disaster supply kit. Prepare your kit before a disaster occurs.
Pet Emergency Supplies
  • Sturdy crate as a pet carrier
  • Identification tag containing accurate, up-to-date information
  • A sturdy leash
  • Food and water for at least three days
  • Non-spill bowl
  • Portable litter box and litter
  • Large plastic bags for cat litter disposal and dog clean up
  • Prescriptions and special medications
  • Manual can opener
  • A copy of your pet's veterinary records
  • Recent photo of your pet
  • Blankets
  • Paper towels
  • Phone number of the local emergency veterinary clinic
  • Phone number of your local and county animal shelter
Pet First Aid
  • Large and small bandages
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Q-tips
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Elastic tape
  • Eye wash (saline)
  • Ear cleaning solutions
  • K-Y jelly

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