Having a policy in place helps everyone on staff know their roles and responsibilities when your practice is presented with a wild animal species, hybrid, or question – whether the practice treats wildlife or not. The policy can be as simple or complex as needed. Utilizing the Wildlife Decision Tree can help, especially with some of the regulatory and public health concerns associated with treating wildlife species or their hybrids. As a working document, the wildlife policy should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed to ensure its information is correct.
If your practice treats wildlife, a policy will help ensure that related regulatory, public health, and administrative concerns are addressed so that the animal can more quickly receive the care it needs and the Good Samaritan (or owner, if the case may be) and other clients may have an enhanced appreciation for your expertise.
If your practice does not treat wildlife, it should still be able to at least provide the Good Samaritan (or owner) with contact information for appropriate authorities and local veterinarians who can help. With a policy in place, it will not matter who answers the call because the same useful information will be shared each time. Some clinics accept wildlife from Good Samaritans so that the animal can receive needed basic care while staff contacts the proper authorities and a local veterinary facility that treats wildlife.
Yes, then follow your clinic's wildlife policy and update it as needed. Doing so will help ensure that while the animal receives veterinary care, key points are not missed, the proper authorities are contacted when needed, and public health and safety are not at risk. If an animal presents an issue that your wildlife policy did not address, you find updated information while managing the animal, or you discover a needed variance or caveat to the policy for the particular species or situation, make a note of it at the time and then update the policy as soon as feasible.
No, then this incident can help you create a clinic wildlife policy. If you do not have a wildlife policy, retrospective analysis of a wildlife case or multiple cases can help you develop a wildlife policy for your facility. Capturing the beneficial actions taken by staff, vital contacts made, and essential documentation required as well as utilizing the Wildlife Decision Tree will provide you with a great start in creating a wildlife policy.