Wildlife Decision Tree

What does your practice do when someone brings in a sick or injured wild animal? What about calls pertaining to wildlife? Does everyone in your practice know what their roles are when either of these things happen? Does everyone on staff know where to find the contact information for the wildlife authorities in your area?

This decision tree serves as a guide for practices to assist them in navigating the complexities associated with treating wildlife species or their hybrids. Basically, the chart helps your practice take care of the issues peripheral to the animal so that you can focus on treating the animal appropriately. Although it may not appear under every topic, personal safety as well as the safety of other staff, clients, and patients must be considered at all times.

If you are looking for a specific resource related to wildlife, such as regulations or AVMA policies, click on the Additional Resources box to view a list of items which may be helpful. To access more detailed discussions of topics presented, simply follow the links in the chart as you work your way through it.

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Wildlife Decision Tree Does your clinic have a WILDLIFE POLICY? YES NO FOLLOW clinic's
WILDLIFE POLICY
& update it as needed.
This incident can help
you create clinic's
WILDLIFE POLICY.
DOCUMENT as much information as the
Good Samaritan or owner can provide.
Is it LEGAL to treat this species or hybrid? NO Don't Know CALL
AUTHORITIES
YES Is the animal suffering from imminently
FATAL INJURIES (ones that are not survivable)?
YES EMERGENCY
EUTHANASIA METHODS
CALL
appropriate authorities
if required and
PROPERLY DISPOSE
of all remains
(body, feathers, fur,
claws, antlers, etc.).
NO Are you KNOWLEDGEABLE and
PREPARED to treat this animal?
Does practice have trained / experienced staff,
proper facilities / supplies, wildlife policy, etc.?
YES NO CALL/REFER
State Wildlife Management Agencies

Licensed Rehabilitators

Wildlife Referral Veterinary Clinic
PROVIDE BASIC MANAGEMENT
per directions received and staff's
ability until transfer.
Questions or Concerns Is the animal a RESERVOIR
or VECTOR SPECIES?
Do you suspect a REPORTABLE,
NOTIFIABLE, or ZOONOTIC disease?
Consider – staff rabies vaccination and titer status;
safety of clients, patients, staff, and public;
proper personal protective equipment; etc.
YES CALL
AUTHORITIES
NO TREAT the animal APPROPRIATELY. Minimize animal distress, contact authorities if needed and
not already done, complete / obtain any special documentation
required, include official animal identification (band #, microchip, etc.)
and owner permit # in records, need / feasibility of follow up, etc.
DIES CALL
appropriate authorities
if required and
PROPERLY DISPOSE
of all remains (body,
feathers, fur, claws,
antlers, etc.).
SURVIVES Determine the
APPROPRIATE DISPOSITION
of the animal.
Animal legal to own? Release to owner,
rehab facility, sanctuary, agency, other -
confirm with authorities. Provide client
education, discharge instructions, etc.
QUESTIONS Don't Know CALL
AUTHORITIES