What are Basic Emergency Supplies Needed in a Shelter?

Formulary

Medical supplies and a formulary of emergency and nonemergency drugs should be available to deal with emergencies that may present in a shelter setting. Basic CPR drugs to address cardiovascular emergencies include epinephrine, atropine, and dopamine; in addition, furosemide and lidocaine are inexpensive but essential cardiovascular medications to have on hand. Mannitol and injectable steroids such as dexamethasone are important to have available for treating allergic reactions and general and specific neurological and hypersensitivity-related emergencies; medications useful for treating tremors and seizures; drugs such as methocarbamol, diazepam, and propofol are also valuable to have on hand.
The well-equipped formulary should also include an adequate selection of pain medications, both antiinflammatory (nonsteroidal and steroidal) and opioid derived; appropriate injectable and oral antibiotics; and medications to address gastrointestinal upset (including antiemetics, H2 blockers, and antidiarrheals). An emesis-inducing agent such as apomorphine and a toxin-binding agent such as activated charcoal are also useful for cases of known or suspected toxin ingestion. Because shelters often are unable to provide intensive care to animals, it is useful to keep this in mind when stocking the shelter’s formulary. It can be helpful to utilize medications that are administered less frequently (for example, once daily instead of three times daily when an option is available).
 
What are Basic Emergency Supplies Needed in a Shelter

Supplies

In addition to an appropriately stocked medication formulary, it is important to maintain an adequate selection and supply of products used to deliver fluid therapy when needed. This includes IV catheters and< needles in various sizes, actual intraosseous catheters or large-bore needles, and associated IV fluid administration supplies such as T-ports, male adapters, primary sets, extension sets, buretrols, and a selection of IV fluids. In general, stocking a balanced electrolyte solution such as lactated Ringer’s solution (LRS), Norm-R R or Plasmalyte R as well as normal saline, half-strength saline, and, if possible, a colloid such as Hetastarch can be very useful. A supply of 50% dextrose is also vital in the shelter setting due to the large number of neonatal animals who may present with hypoglycemia. An IV fluid pump is convenient, but it is also possible to maintain IV fluids with a manual drip calculation system.
In many shelters, the ability to acquire sophisticated veterinary equipment may be limited. However, for the purposes of addressing an emergency, it is vital to have a source of oxygen. This can be addressed with an anesthesia machine when an oxygen cage is not available. Standard anesthesia monitoring equipment such as a pulse oximeter/heart rate monitor can provide important and adequate information. A source of warmth is vital for treatment of hypothermia, and while sophisticated warming systems are ideal, in lieu of this, a standard heating pad (at the appropriate setting and covered to prevent thermal injury) or simple warmed IV fluid bags can provide a more than adequate heat supply.

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