COVID-19: Answering the call together

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AVMA President's Column: Dr. John Howe

As the world remains in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to reassure the veterinary profession that your national association is working around the clock to develop guidance, resources, and information to support you in these unprecedented times. We’ll keep you updated on how the disease is impacting veterinary teams and patients, as well as how the profession is adapting and continuing to operate in this environment.

This remarkable profession—filled with remarkable people—is once again answering the call in a time of national need.

I also want to recognize the incredible efforts of veterinarians, veterinary schools, and teaching hospitals across the country who have donated ventilators and personal protective equipment to support our human health colleagues. It is yet one more example of how this remarkable profession—filled with remarkable people—is once again answering the call in a time of national need.

Thank you all so much for your generosity and support, and for every veterinary professional’s unwavering commitment to patients and clients, colleagues, and our communities. 

The AVMA’s work to identify and develop the best possible guidance and resources for the profession is made possible through our ongoing collaboration with U.S. federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Homeland Security; and global organizations like the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization. 

We also are tapping expertise from veterinarians and others working in infectious disease, public health, and disaster response. And we have been working with state veterinary medical associations, species-specific organizations, and veterinary specialty groups; the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, the Student AVMA, and veterinary schools; and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, continuing education providers, and other colleagues across the health care system.

AVMA staff is tirelessly gathering, interpreting, and sharing breaking news and developments. New resources are developed and shared almost daily to help veterinary teams navigate COVID-19. AVMA member emails, blog posts, social media communications, JAVMA articles, media outreach work, and on-demand webinars on AVMA Axon are all designed to support and empower the profession during this challenging time.

By standing together, there is no question in my mind that we will come out of this pandemic stronger than before, as individuals and as communities.

Our dedicated COVID-19 website,, is enhanced regularly with new resources and updates as new information becomes available. Among its features are practice resources; legislative and relief program information, including federal student loan guidance; business and economics insights; and wellbeing resources—all newly developed and specific to COVID-19. 

For instance, one section is devoted to how to keep veterinary teams as safe as possible during the pandemic. Guidance includes a veterinary case-management flow chart that provides practical guidance on managing cases at the clinic while minimizing COVID-19 exposure through social distancing. You’ll also find AVMA guidelines for using and conserving PPE, along with recommendations specific to sheltering animals, equine practice, food animal practice, and house call or mobile practices

Other resources available through the COVID-19 website include:

  • A client handout to help pet owners protect animals by planning for their care
  • Advice on maintaining emotional wellbeing
  • Updates on COVID-19 legislation and federal relief provisions and regulations
  • Social media tools for sharing with clients
  • Tools to help veterinary small businesses

The AVMA is actively engaged with authorities at every level of government to address veterinarians’ needs as we grapple with COVID-19. We advocate for programs that support veterinarians, veterinary teams, and the operations and viability of veterinary small businesses. The AVMA actively advocated to have veterinary medicine designated as an essential part of the country’s critical infrastructure, and for federal relief programs that support the economic viability of veterinary practices and the profession as part of the stimulus packages recently passed by Congress. It’s comforting to know that our nation's leaders recognize the value that veterinarians deliver, and we remain committed to strong advocacy on behalf of the profession. 

This is a challenging time. COVID-19 continues to affect us all, both personally and professionally. By standing together, there is no question in my mind that we will come out of this pandemic stronger than before, as individuals and as communities. 

The AVMA Board of Directors, House of Delegates, and staff remain committed to supporting AVMA members in your critical roles in animal health and welfare and public health. The AVMA is, and always will be, here for you.


AVMA response to Covid19 crisis

I appreciate Dr. Howe and all the AVMA support for their ongoing efforts to keep our profession and thus our communities strong. This is another example of why I am so proud to be a veterinarian. Thank you!!

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