Animal injury characteristics following the 2020 ammonium nitrate explosion in the Port of Beirut

J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2023 Jul-Aug;33(4):477-480. doi: 10.1111/vec.13292. Epub 2023 Apr 30.


Purpose: To describe the characteristics and veterinary management of animal casualties after an ammonium nitrate explosion in the Port of Beirut.

Methods: Retrospective evaluation of medical records from multiple veterinary organizations.

Results: Veterinary care was administered to 298 cats and 103 dogs, with 101 animals (25%) undergoing surgical procedures under general anesthesia. Glass injuries prevailed, with suturing performed in 98 animals (24.4%). Surgery was used to treat 31 animals (7.7%) with extremity fractures and 52 animals with tendon injuries (13.3%). Bodily burns were encountered in 19 animals (4.7%). Six animals (1.5%) lost their hearing entirely, while another 6 (1.5%) lost an eye.

Conclusion: The joint coordinated work of veterinary groups and nongovernmental animal organizations reduced the number of injured animal fatalities. Of animals documented as having undergone treatment, 355 (88.5%) survived their initial injury assessment, and 46 (11.5%) died.

Keywords: ammonium nitrate; animals; blindness; deafness; disaster; emergency management; explosion; fracture; hematoma.