A landslide that killed at least 36 people March 22, leading Gov. Jay Inslee to call the disaster "a historic slide, the largest in state history," made more history when the Washington State Department of Agriculture deployed its Reserve Veterinary Corps.
The call-up of two veterinarians and two veterinary technicians was the first in state history.
The unprecedented action followed about 30 requests for veterinary care involving rescue dogs that have combed the 1-square-mile debris field since the landslide erased the small town of Oso, Wash.
The dogs are treated for cuts, dehydration, hypothermia and damaged pads. They also are decontaminated after exposure to hazardous materials, officials said.
Reserve Veterinary Corps members began arriving April 5 and were expected to work rotating shifts for up to 14 days.
The Department of Agriculture also contracted with Seattle Veterinary Services and Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in Snohomish, Wash., for additional personnel, equipment and supplies.
The Reserve Veterinary Corps consists of 135 volunteer veterinarians, veterinary technicians and other professionals trained to assist with livestock and other animals after a disease outbreak or natural disaster.
The state provided a trailer designed for the team's use and a Marsh Master vehicle that can navigate the slide area and ferry workers and rescue animals across the debris field.
In other news, Trupanion, a Seattle pet health insurance company, called on animal lovers to post pet stories or photos to help raise money for North Creek Pet Hospital in Bothell, Wash., and Everett Animal Shelter in Everett, Wash.
Trupanion will donate $1 for every story or photo posted to the company's Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The campaign runs through April 18. Trupanion hopes to raise up to $5,000, a spokesperson said.