Local veterinary hospital sees surge in patients amid winter storm due to animals left in the freezing cold


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local veterinary hospital saw a surge in patients during the winter storm in Oklahoma this week due to pets being left in the cold.

As the Siberian shockwave blew through the Sooner State, record cold temperatures and plenty of snow came with it. Neel Veterinary Hospital in Northwest Oklahoma City caught the brunt of the blast with animals coming in left and right. Most of them were affected in some way by the weather.

According to Kayla Delmas, a veterinarian there, they took in more than 100 patients between Sunday and Monday alone. Some veterinarians crashed at the hospital overnight as the winter weather rolled through.

“It’s actually been a lot crazier than I expected,” Delmas said. “We’ve had a lot more patients than we normally do during weather times.”

Photo goes with story
A doggy relaxes after being saved from the bone-chilling conditions of the winter storm.

All was calm at the veterinary hospital by mid-week. However, as the arctic blast plunged temperatures into the teens, it wasn’t.

“It’s been tough,” Delmas said.

Delmas has worked at the hospital for almost one year. She is one of up to 20 people who stayed inside it for days. She herself stayed there for 72 hours straight along with some others, sleeping in blow up beds.

“We’re using every available space,” she said. “We’re also doing it for all those pets out there that are getting sick.”

The first patients poured in on Sunday when the winter storm got into Oklahoma. Most of them had been left out in the freezing cold.

“It’s pretty devastating what it can do,” Delmas said.

Delmas said hypothermia, frost bite, affecting arthritis and even dehydration can be factors for animals. The deep freeze affected more than just humans and our homes.

“Luckily, we haven’t seen too many of the more severe cases,” she said. “But I think every case that comes in has been affected by the weather.”

Photo goes with story
A pooch receiving some warm, loving care after being rescued from the freezing winter storm.

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare said the phones had been ringing off the hook about pets left outside with no shelter.

“Make sure you’re keeping your pets inside,” said Jon Gary with Oklahoma City Animal Welfare.

The snow-covered and slightly icy roads add insult to injury for those who try to rescue them as well.

“Getting to these have been a very big challenge,” Gary said. “We’ve had a lot of trucks get stuck.”

According to Delmas, limiting your pets time outside, keeping track of them and checking under your vehicle’s hood for strays can help. Also, amid very cold temperatures, she said keep them inside as much as possible.

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare said due to the weather conditions only four to five officers have been available to respond to calls. Response times may take longer. If it isn’t an immediate emergency, they may call you to delay the response until a later date.

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