Animals and veterinary professionals alike feel Mother Nature’s fury when disasters take their toll. For veterinarians who are involved, either because their own businesses or homes are affected, or because they volunteer or are called on to care for displaced or injured animals, it can be a long road back to normalcy.
The AVMA family is committed to bringing the veterinary profession together to assist colleagues in need when disasters happen, and we have been heartened to see a groundswell of response to these efforts. AVMA members and partners across the profession join with us to offer aid.
AVMA's role in disasters
The AVMA helps disseminate information within the veterinary community and among animal lovers and advocates to ensure an immediate and helpful response.
The AVMA maintains constant contact with federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), to assist in getting information to the right people when needed.
We work with state and local veterinary medical associations and veterinary schools in the affected areas to provide information, guidance and assistance as needed.
As a member of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC), we participate in conference calls as needed to help plan and coordinate animal-related response.
Our charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), provides disaster reimbursement grants
to AVMA member veterinarians who deliver emergency veterinary medical care and temporary boarding to animal victims of disasters.
AVMA PLIT representatives reach out to veterinary practices to provide early guidance on how to deal with potential damages and claims. PLIT also provides insured customers with resources to help assess damages.
Resources for affected veterinarians
Disaster Reimbursement Grants:
Assistance for Affected Animals and Clients:
If you want to help
Despite the natural desire to volunteer or send in-kind donations to areas hit hard by disaster, relief officials on the ground discourage most in-kind donations and will turn away would-be volunteers who are not already part of a team that is trained and credentialed.
The best way to help is to donate to reputable charities that will funnel the right aid to the people who need it. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Disaster Reimbursement Grants program is one such charity, helping veterinarians provide services to affected animals, and we encourage you to join in that effort by donating to the AVMF using the AVMF Code “Disaster Relief.”
Preparing for future volunteer work
To facilitate support in disaster situations, veterinarians may want to consider joining and training with a veterinary medical emergency response team, such as a state veterinary medical reserve corps or local medical reserve corps program. For information, see https://mrc.hhs.gov.
Anyone interested in volunteering to aid general, non-veterinary recovery efforts should register in advance with a National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster.