Relief work, fundraising for Haiti continue

Published on March 18, 2010
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The veterinary community is continuing to help the animal population in Haiti after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated the country Jan. 12.

The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti had treated more than 4,000 animals in Haiti at press time—mostly dogs, goats, cattle, and chickens. ARCH is covering many areas and neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince and surrounding cities.

On March 4, the coalition announced a $1.1 million agreement with the Haitian government aimed at improving the well-being of animals and repairing the country's damaged veterinary capacity.

ARCH, working in cooperation with the Haitian ministries of agriculture, environment, and health, will implement a program of animal disaster relief work that includes establishing an epidemiology network to protect people and animals from disease outbreaks; training Haitian veterinarians and veterinary health workers to address welfare problems; restoring the "cold chain" to allow for effective vaccination campaigns; and conducting animal population studies to better inform coalition work.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and the AVMA are part of the coalition. The International Fund for Animal Welfare and World Society for the Protection of Animals created ARCH to help respond to animal issues following the earthquake.

Teams continued to treat injured and sick animals with medications including antimicrobials and deworming medicine. Hoofstock were administered anthrax vaccines, and dogs and cats were vaccinated against rabies. When treating dogs and cats, ARCH volunteers record the owner's name and animal's name and age and provide collars for each dog and cat, according to situation reports. This allows the volunteers to monitor their efforts and avoid repetition.

ARCH has also set up a fully equipped veterinary mobile clinic in Port-au-Prince. The volunteers are educating the community on responsible pet ownership and farm animal husbandry.

The AVMF has already committed $50,000 toward the efforts in Haiti and plans to further support Haitian animal welfare relief efforts as needs arise.

The Foundation's contributions were made possible by a number of corporate and individual donors. Pfizer Animal Health, at its national sales meeting Feb. 8 in Phoenix, chose to cut back expenses at the meeting and donate that money to the AVMF to benefit ARCH.

At the Western Veterinary Conference, musical act Foreigner donated all proceeds from merchandise sales during its concert to the AVMF for Haiti relief efforts as well; Bayer Animal Health matched the donated funds, bringing the total to $20,000.

Other major contributors to the AVMF to benefit ARCH include Banfield, The Pet Hospital; VCA Charities; MWI Veterinary Supply; and the Gerald B. Shreiber Foundation.

Keep updated on ARCH and AVMF activities by visiting the "AVMAVMAT" and "AVMFdn" Twitter accounts.