Animal hospitals, vet schools send ventilators to hospitals amid shortages

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Animal hospitals and veterinary schools are sending critically needed ventilators to hospitals facing supply shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Although the institutions use the equipment to treat animals, vets say the ventilators they use are the same as the ones hospitals use to treat human patients. 

Dr. Beth Davidow, the president-elect of the Animal College of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care, put out a call last week for animal hospitals to share the much needed supplies with their “human counterparts.” 

Davidow shared a Google form on Facebook for animal hospitals to fill out regarding what supplies and ventilators they could share in order to create a central database of information. 

Within days, Davidow told ABC News she’s identified nearly 250 ventilators, which she said are “human-grade machines” that could be repurposed to help human hospitals

“Even though this is a small supply, if we save even one more person, it’s worthwhile to do this,” Davidow told ABC. 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine said Wednesday it is sending two of its full-service ventilators to a hospital in Manhattan. 

New York City has become a hotspot for the virus, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has repeatedly stressed that the state needs tens of thousands of additional ventilators to meet the demand. 

Cornell said it is prepared to send three-full service breathing machines and 19 smaller anesthesia ventilators to Cayuga Medical Center. 

Tufts’ veterinary school said Monday it’s donated both of its mechanical ventilators to the Tufts Medical Center in Boston. 

“Although we used these machines to care for the sickest of our companion animal patients, this equipment was originally manufactured for human use,” the school wrote in a Facebook post. “Now they can be used to care for patients affected with the severest form of COVID-19.” 

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has also sent supplies to area medical centers, the school said in a Facebook post

Three ventilators and necessary disposable supplies from the Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital were sent to East Alabama Medical Center. 

“Every day, Auburn Vet Med faculty and staff live out our mission of advancing the health and welfare of animals, while doing what’s in the best interest of all citizens – in Alabama, across the nation and around the world,” the school wrote.  “And in the midst of the extraordinary #covid19 pandemic, we are committed to this mission now more than ever before.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said it has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, and that it has no evidence to suggest animals pose a risk for spreading the virus.

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