Camp Fire Updates from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

donkey from camp fire

Wildfire-Assistance Activities

Last updated: 11/20/18, 10:15 a.m. PST

A photo album of unidentified animals has been uploaded to Facebook. We will add more images as unclaimed animals come into our care. If you believe one of these may be yours, please email You will need to provide photo ID of your missing pet if at all possible.

November 20, 2018

  • VERT has accepted a second mission number for the Butte county fires and will now also be deployed to assist at the Red Cross co-housing shelter for humans and their companion animals. Both the Red Cross shelter and the large animal shelter (where we continuously have been working) are at the Butte county fairgrounds in Gridley.
  • Washington Post article on their homepage Sunday, Nov 18th and in print, features the efforts of reuniting cats with their owners.
  • A team led by Dr. Michelle Hawkins has been at Butte Co. fairgrounds since Nov. 17 to assist with poultry. There are currently hundreds of birds there in need of monitoring and evaluation. She ran a team on Saturday, the 17th,  to physically evaluate 70 birds with 2 people. They have been advised that all animals sheltering in place  must be moved out of the fire zone into shelters, etc before the rains predicted for this week.
  • About 25 raptors (ambassador birds and others at risk) were moved indoors at the California Raptor Center due to extremely unhealthy air last Thursday. Story in today's Dateline about how UC Davis has reached out to help care for pets and people affected by the Camp Fire. 

November 16, 2018

  • Overnight the VMTH took in 3 additional horses with fire related injuries (2 miniatures and one full size horse) who are currently hospitalized. On a positive note, we were able to reunite 2 cats with their owners via social media efforts. Several other positive identifications with cat owners have been made. We also identified the owner of the mini horse, Prince, thanks to a post on social media.
  • Dr Brett McNabb and student VERT team deployed today for livestock wellness visit to Butte county fairgrounds. 

November 15, 2018

  • Overnight the VMTH admitted one additional patient, a miniature horse for burn related injuries. Through social media posting we have identified 2 potential owners of cats who will be coming to the hospital to make a positive identification in the next few days. Everyone is doing a tremendous job of taking care of all these animals and thank you to all the students, staff and clinicians who are making this effort possible. 
  • A team of 8 students are at the Butte County Fairgrounds today with our  Veterinary Emergency Response Team. Dr. Maurice Pitesky accompanied them to help evaluate chickens, turkeys and other poultry on site.

November 13, 2018

  • Members of the Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) were back at the Butte County Fairgrounds large animal evacuation center in Gridley today. They  treated 15 horses, 7 donkeys, 23 goats, 11 sheep, 1 alpaca, 3 pigs and over 40 birds (chickens, geese and turkeys), as well as monitoring and doing TPRs (temperature, pulse, respiration) on about 27 more horses.
  • Total number of animals being treated at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital: anticipated 31 cats by end of day. In our large animal clinic, there are currently 4 pigs, and 3 goats. “Pancho” the donkey was discharged to a rescue organization today.
  • Dr. John Madigan attended an emergency meeting this morning to address unmet animal welfare needs. He advised including veterinary experts with first responder teams. About 20 units will be deploying from North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NAVDG) headquarters going forward. Dr. Claudia Sonder has been instrumental in recruiting 25-30 veterinarians to assist at the shelter— bringing trailers, medications and supplies. All were sworn in as disaster service workers.
  • Good Day Sacramento visited C Barn this morning for a live shot and interviewed Dr. Munashe Chigerwe as well as fourth-year student Jamie Sherman who have been instrumental in the care of Camp fire patients since they began arriving on Nov. 10. They also shot b-roll for a news story to air at noon and this evening. 
  • UC Davis put out a story on their news page today. 

November 12, 2018

  • The Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) is back in the field at the Butte County Fairgrounds evacuation center in Gridley.
  • Numerous animals are being treated at the Large Animal Clinic including goats, pigs and a donkey. Most of these animals have an owner identified. The donkey, affectionately dubbed "Pancho" by Dr. Monica Aleman was brought in by VERT—he was not burned, but was collapsing and in need of more critical care .
  • The Small Animal Clinic is caring for numerous cats suffering from burn injuries. We'll bring you more updates when they are available.
  • Dr. John Madigan received a call last night from individuals wanting advice for saving koi and fancy goldfish from the Camp Fire. He gave them step-by-step instructions and this morning, they called back to inform him that all the fish were in a holding tank in a truck and were on their way to Davis. Dr. Madigan coordinated with Linda Deanovic, the director for the Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture, and she mobilized staff to prepare two holding tanks for their arrival.

November 11, 2018

  • The Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) returned to Butte County Fairgrounds evacuation center in Gridley this morning.
  • The veterinary hospital received two piglets from Butte County last night, brought back by the VERT team. One succumbed to severe burns; the other is stable and eating.

November 10, 2018

  • The Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) is in the field after receiving a mutual aid request for assistance. They have been evaluating and treating animals from the Camp Fire for flight-related injuries—including stress, dehydration and burns—at the Butte County Fairgrounds evacuation center in Gridley. While many will be treated in the field, those that need additional care for more serious injuries will be brought to the UC Davis veterinary hospital.
  • Dr. John Madigan was joined in the field by Drs. Lais Costa and Emily Berryhill, as well as five DVM students. VERT plans to assist at the fairgrounds for at least three days and we’ll bring you more updates as they are available.

November 9, 2018

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has taken the following steps in response to current fires:

  • The veterinary hospital engaged its Disaster Response Leadership Team and has initiated action to put the hospital on standby. Preparations to accept and treat animal fire victims are in progress.
  • The Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) is on standby to deploy once an official state/county request is initiated. VERT will respect the first-responders incident command and wait for the official request for deployment to ensure the safety of all involved.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has multiple online resources for animal owners to prepare for and deal with natural disasters:

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