By Rachel Wulff

DAVIS (CBS13) — UC Davis now has $3 million in state funding to expand emergency veterinarian services to animals impacted by disasters like wildfires.

Images showing animals injured in the Camp Fire in 2018 and reuniting with their owners are priceless.

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Nursing them back comes at a cost, and for some, their road to recovery is long.

That’s why UC Davis established the Veterinary Emergency Response Team several years ago, but the program was only focused in and around Yolo County.

The newly created California Veterinary Emergency Team will change that. It’s funded by three million dollars in state money.

“What that’s going to allow us to do is standardize response, work with all different partners throughout the state, so everyone is working off the same playbook,” said Michael Ziccardi with UC Davis.

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It’s modeled after the Wildlife Disaster Network, which is also run by UC Davis. That has used fish skin to treat animals burned in wildfires. The School of Veterinary Medicine will administer the program, working with counties statewide and various nonprofit organizations.

“We’re going to establish the vet care element within this, so we’ll have equipment, supplies, personnel here in Davis,” Ziccardi said. “But the other concept is really reaching out to organizations.”

The university will work with the California Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Agriculture to expand the ability to respond and bring the expertise to wherever the disaster is.

“So no matter what animal is in crisis, no matter what disaster is involved, we have the ability to shift to provide the best care possible for animals,” Ziccardi said.

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UC Davis will rely on the California Veterinary Medical Association, which has a medical reserve corps of thousands willing to volunteer their time for these types of programs.