Angels for Animals: OSU vet hospital provides free care during natural disasters

Great State
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STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA -- She and her foal are the last patients left.

Her name is Babe.

Doctors and staff at the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences call this rambunctious colt 'Creature'.

Dr. Dan Burba says, "Babe came to us in early May."

They were both victims of this tornadic storm near Sulphur, caught in the open with no protection.

Dr. Burba says, of the 7 or 8 horses that came to this hospital, Babe was hurt the worst.

"She received a severe injury to her right knee," he says. "As a result, we had to do surgery to try to close that right knee up."

Dr. Danielle Dugat says staffers and fellow vets still talk about the 2013 tornado outbreaks, how dogs and cats came in for days from beneath rubble.

They were all injured and scared.

"This place was full," she recalls. "We say maybe 40 to 50 animals between us and the exotic department."

It's quieter now but different too.

After that 2013 disaster, directors here started a kind of outreach.

They put out the word to fellow veterinarians and even travelled to disaster areas themselves offering their care and ability free of charge to injured dogs, cats, horses, even turtles.

Dugat explains, "When you have a family that has nothing because their home was destroyed, their life was destroyed. They have no belongings. Then they are blessed with the fact that they got free care for their pet."

The hospital isn't very busy this June.

Dr. Dugat is checking on this puppy who just had heart surgery, and on an injured cat.

The exotic animal clinic has a couple of owls and a nest full of hungry mockingbirds.

But they all know the next flood, the next wild-fire, or the next twister could see them overflowing with cases again in a matter of hours.

Dugat adds, "It's always nice to feel like you did something good."

The OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences set up an Animal Relief Fund to help defray the costs of caring for animal disaster victims.

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