Upper North Island flood event information – January 2023

Published on 31 January 2023.
Updated on 1 February 2023.

Recent flood events in the upper North Island have devastated communities. Our thoughts are with all those affected.

Floods pose a number of challenges for animal owners and veterinarians. Below are resources to help you through these events and during the recovery.

NZVA flood resources for animal owners.

NZVA flood resources for veterinarians.


Emergency response is available in Auckland on 0800 22 22 00. Please call if you have evacuated your home and your animal(s) is still at the house, or if you cannot take your animal to temporary accommodation.

To request assistance with livestock, lifestyle blocks or feed, contact Federated Farmers on 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646).

Ongoing information on the storm event in Auckland can be found on the Auckland Council website.

Animals affected by flooding

See Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Advice for livestock, lifestyle block, horse and pet owners.

Displaced animals

In natural disasters, emergency responses involving displaced animals are coordinated by MPI. You can contact MPI for support on 0800 22 22 00.

Keep animals out of floodwater and areas contaminated by floodwater

Floodwater can often be contaminated with sewerage. Keep yourself and animals out of floodwater to avoid cuts or abrasions becoming infected.

Do not let animals drink floodwater, or eat any carcasses or debris lying on the ground.

Pastures can become contaminated and could harm your stock. If necessary, fence off an area that is safe to hold the animals until you have fully inspected and cleaned any contaminated areas. Corners of paddocks and fence lines can collect debris and pose a hazard to stock and horses. Scrap metal, chemical containers and poisonous plants need to be identified and removed. Infectious diseases such as clostridial diseases (especially blackleg and tetanus) and leptospirosis are common after flooding. Contact your veterinarian to make sure your stock are protected with vaccinations against these diseases.

Decontamination and disinfection of bedding and surfaces

After a flood event, make sure to properly disinfect kennels and other animal living areas; surfaces; bedding; and containers before your animals use them again. This will help protect your animals from potential sources of contamination. Floodwater can be mixed with sewage and other material, which is dangerous for animal health.

You can clean these areas by removing excess dirt and debris, and thoroughly cleaning them with detergent, or wash them down with a disinfectant.

How to manage your animals if they have been exposed to flood waters

Animals which have been in flood waters need to be checked for injuries and cleaned thoroughly. Wash all areas of the animal that have been contacted by flood waters with clean water and animal safe soap if available. Be sure to wash all the way down to the skin level to protect against skin infections.

Animal with thick coats (sheep, alpacas, llamas and long haired breeds of cats and dogs) are more at risk and should be inspected and cleaned carefully. If you identify that your animal has been injured or is showing signs of a skin infection or is unwell, call your local vet for advice.