Pharmacy Students Help Prepare Medicines at Animal Shelter

Contributed by Amanda Miller, Class of 2019

When an area experiences any form of natural disaster our first instinct is to try and help the people affected by the disaster. However, humans are not the only ones in need of help. Natural disasters can also displace animals. After the floods that happened in West Virginia in June 2016, there were many animals that lost their homes or owners, and many became extremely ill. Luckily, the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association (KCHA) stepped up to help as many of these animals as possible.

kcha1Since June, KCHA has experienced a huge influx of animals coming into the shelter—many are extremely young and very ill puppies and kittens. In these cases these animals have to be separated from the general population of the shelter and require more intense care from the veterinarian and the staff that assists them. This increased need for medical attention has made it difficult for the veterinarian technicians at KCHA to maintain a supply of prepared medications.

In order to host kittens at the shelter, most need at least 4 different medications when they first arrive. This does not include the animals who are extremely sick and will need this care for multiple days or possibly weeks of care. That means if the shelter takes in 20 kittens who require this extra care, which may require as many as three doses a day, these kittens will need 420 doses of each medication for one week. That is a lot of medication to both prepare and give to these kittens. This is where student pharmacists have stepped in to help.

kcha2As pharmacy students we have experience with preparing medications. From our first year of pharmacy school we are taught how to compound medications and how to draw medicine appropriately into syringes. So, although we do not have the know-how on how to give these medications to the sick animals, we do know the medications they are being treated with. For American Pharmacists’ Month we at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) are volunteering our time to try and help KCHA prepare medications. By taking this extra workload off the veterinary staff, we are enabling them to spend more time actually treating these animals instead of having to spend their time preparing the medications. The veterinarian and veterinarian technicians have all been extremely thankful for our help because we have been able to help when they are in such direr need of help. Because we are training to become medication experts, pharmacy students are able to offer assistance for this specific area of need.

Our hope is to continue our relationship with KCHA and volunteer not only in October for American Pharmacists Month but year-round as well. Volunteering at the shelter not only helps the community but it allows pharmacy students to put their skills and knowledge into practice while helping our furry friends!

UCSOP Flood Relief with the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association

IMG_5697

A cat at the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association receives respiratory treatment in a nebulizing chamber

In the wake of the recent floods, countless people around the Kanawha area have needed help and many have volunteered to assist with clean up and medical care. But a group that is often forgotten in crisis situations is pets. On June 29th, a group of UCSOP faculty and students including Dr. Sarah Embrey Dr. Cassie Legari, Dr. MIchelle Knight, Kendra Hall (Class of 2019), and UCSOP interns Killian Rodgers and Dawnna Metcalfe went to the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association to help out in this time of need.

 

IMG_5695

Intern Dawnna Metcalfe prepares a syringe to help cats with respiratory issues

The Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association (KCHA) operates a shelter and animal hospital just outside of Charleston near Yeager Airport. They have over 100 kennels for dogs and house many cats as well. In addition to providing shelter, food, and medical care for pets in need, they work to fight animal cruelty in Kanawha county and help reduce the pet overpopulation issue through Trap-Neuter-Return programs. As a humane society, they try to save every animal they can and pair them up with a loving family to provide them a forever home.

Since the floods however, they have been inundated with new arrivals. Many are pets who are currently separated from their owners but many are also newly strayed and will need forever homes as well.

IMG_5691

A dog at KCHA awaits her dewormer

The team from UCSOP helped the veterinary staff at KCHA, led by University of Charleston Alumn, Dr. Jamie Totten, prepare medications, administer medications, and get a census of some of the dogs and cats. Many cats at KCHA were in need of respiratory care so Dr. Embrey and the UCSOP summer interns helped prepare dozens of syringes with necessary medications. In addition, the interns and a P2 student helped to deliver deworming medication to over 60 dogs.

Both the people and the pets at KCHA were very happy and grateful for the help, even the dogs that weren’t too happy about taking their medication. But there is still plenty more that needs to be done! Below are some links for how you can help out KCHA and the pets of Kanawha county:

If you are interested in adopting click here to find out about the process of providing a pet with their forever home.

If you are interested in volunteering or fostering an animal click here.

If you would like to donate money click here.

If you are in the area and would like to donate some supplies click here for a list of what they need most.

If you are a medical professional or work in a medical environment- the veterinary staff at KCHA are in desperate need of equipment like syringes, if you have any that you are willing to donate (expired equipment is OK) please click here for contact info on how to get that to the right people.

Contributed by: Killian Rodgers and Dawnna Mecalfe

 

Surviving a Flood: Before, During, and After

While our lovely University of Charleston School of Pharmacy campus remained undamaged during these historic floods, we cannot say the same for our neighboring friends, family, and loved ones. Many have lost everything, cdcfloodincluding their lives. There have been numerous efforts, not only from West Virginia, but from all over the U.S. to aid flood victims with clean up, donation supply, and moral support through these difficult times. For these, we are grateful. In this article, I’m hoping to offer you some educational tools to help you become familiar with preparing for the storm and how to handle life after it has passed.

 

Here are some resources for Before and After the Flood:

  • The CDC has a step-by-step guide to ensure adequate preparedness. Find it here.
    • This resource includes: Steps to prepare for the storm, what to do if you’re under a flood watch or warning, a list of emergency supplies, and steps on what to do if you’re preparing to evacuate or have been ordered to do so.
  • The American Red Cross®‎ Flood App – The American Red Cross® offers

    many emergency preparedness apps, but one in particular is the Flood app. This app allows you to monitor your area and any other areas in which you may have loved ones. They also let you link your loved ones to that area via your contact list. The app also includes steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared for any upcoming flood and what to do after.

  • FEMA has provided a free, in-depth guide for care after flooding. Find it here.
    • This includes: Getting back to your home safely, Drying out your home after a flood, Cleaning mold, mildew and bacteria, and much more.

Health protection after a flood:

  • Tetanus shot – According to the CDC, you do not need a tetanus shot if you were exposed to flood waters or if you will be working to help clean up. However, if you are due for your tetanus shot (adults need a booster every 10 years) it would be best to get one. The infection is caused by C. tetani, the bacterium that causes tetanus, infecting a puncture wound (metal nail piercing the foot, animal or human

    bite, etc.).

  • Cuts, scrapes, and wounds – First aid is very important, even if the wound is minor. Wash with soap and clean water.
  • Ear protection – If you’re in an area in which loud machinery is being used, protective equipment should be worn.
  • Chemical Hazards – Due to everything being engulfed by water, it is important to realize the potential chemicals that could be lurking. Cars that have been left behind could have leaking engines or even remaining electrical current. It’s important to leave the removal of any potentially dangerous items to the professionals.

As our fellow West Virginians continue to recuperate from all the loss and devastation, I hope these resources find you well. I also hope that you are able to take away some helpful information that could save your life or even the life of another. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. United we stand with the Mountain State, we are West Virginia strong, and we will come back stronger and better than before. Take care of each other.

 

Contributed by, Shelby Pethtel, Class of 2017