Disaster aid for veterinarians

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In this article:
  • Identify resources that can help you in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • Learn how to file an insurance claim and where to go for insurance-related questions.
  • Discover disaster reimbursement and relief grants for which you might be eligible.
  • Explore ways you can help in a future or current emergency.

When natural disaster strikes, both animals and the dedicated veterinary professionals who care for them feel Mother Nature's fury. For veterinarians whose businesses or homes have been impacted, or for those who care for displaced or injured animals, it can be a long road to recovery.

The AVMA family is committed to supporting our veterinary colleagues in times of crisis. Here are resources to help.


AVMA PLIT's insurance carriers accept claims from insured customers in affected areas. If you are insured through AVMA PLIT and need to file a claim, you can find filing information on the AVMA PLIT website.

AVMA PLIT also offers these resources to guide members on insurance-related matters and disaster planning and recovery:

AVMA LIFE may extend the grace period for premium payments or expedite disability claims for policyholders affected by disasters. If you are insured through AVMA LIFE and have questions or need assistance, call 800-621-6360 or visit avmalife.org.

Apply for disaster relief or reimbursement

Disaster relief grants

Veterinarians and veterinary students impacted by a disaster can apply for disaster relief grants through the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF). Grants are intended to cover out-of-pocket expenses for basic necessities incurred as a result of a disaster.

Disaster reimbursement grants

AVMA member veterinarians providing rescue and emergency care to animals in a disaster may apply for disaster reimbursement grants—up to $5,000 per grantee awarded by the AVMF.

If you want to help

Despite the natural desire to volunteer or send money to areas hit by a 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. Donations made to the AVMF go directly toward helping veterinarians and animals in times of need through disaster relief efforts and medical care for injured or abandoned animals.

Give now

Preparing for future volunteer work

Veterinarians who want to learn how to offer effective support in a disaster situation should consider AVMA's Veterinary First Responder Certificate Program. The program, available on AVMA Axon® and free for AVMA members, serves as a framework for ensuring veterinarians and veterinary students have the knowledge and skills to serve as first responders. Once participants complete approved courses to satisfy the program's eight core competencies, they receive an AVMA Veterinary First Responder certificate of completion and can be included in an AVMA registry of certified veterinary first responders.

If you are interested in volunteering in general, non-veterinary recovery efforts, register with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Watch the CE webinar Career options in disaster veterinary medicine on AVMA Axon. You'll learn what to expect if you want to assist in disaster recovery and response efforts, and how you can help your clients prepare for and respond to a disaster.

Protecting animals in a disaster

Use these resources to help all animal owners prepare for the unexpected and know what to do in a disaster.