Clinics Operating But Farms Take Major Hit

Though many Central Kentucky farms were without power in the wake of major ice storm that hit the Lexington area Feb. 15-16, all three of the major veterinary clinics were up and running.

Hagyard-Davidson-McGee near Lexington was on emergency power as of Feb. 18. Dr. Doug Byars, head of the medicine clinic, said generators are keeping services going for the horses but surgery was perfomed on an emergency basis.

Byars said he contacted Kentucky Utilities, the major electricity supplier in the area, so the hospital would be put on the priority list.

"The lab is running, and all the pumps for fluids and the freezers and refrigerators are going," Byars said. "We've got heat lamps for the foals (in intensive care), but no heat for the people. A lot of people have brought horses into the clinic, so people are finding problems out there."

Dr. Bill Bernard, head of internal medicine at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, said the facility never lost power during the ice storm. He said a lot of staff members didn't have power at home and were staying at the student housing at the clinic property.

"Make sure horses have water available," Bernard said. "Studies have shown that horses given warm water will drink more than horses given cold water." He acknowledged many farms are without power for warm water.

Dan Routh, practice manager at Woodford Veterinary Clinic, said the hospital in Versailles didn't lose power, but the ambulatory veterinarians were having a hard time of it.

"There are a lot of farms with no power, so we can't use ultrasound (for ovulation or pregnancy checks and other procedures)," Routh said. "Some farms also have electric gates that don't work. And the back roads are so treacherous (with downed, ice-covered limbs) that they can't get through."

He said many breeding sheds weren't open. Also, many telephones are out, there's no electricity in the breeding sheds, and farms are having a hard time getting personnel in to work.

Robert Maxwell, owner of Sallee Van company in Lexington, said generators are keeping the phones, lights, and a little heat on in the office, but downed trees are keeping larger trucks in the parking lot.

"We can't get the big trucks off the lot because of trees down everywhere" around the office, Maxwell said, "but we have some of the smaller vans out." As for emergency transportation, Maxwell said: "If I can get the small van in and out of the farm, we'll go get them."