Natural and man-made disasters lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses annually worldwide. Veterinarians are most qualified to support local, state, national, and international efforts in emergency management. However, they may lack the knowledge and advanced training to most effectively plan, prepare, and respond. Currently, only two colleges offer training embedded in their core veterinary curriculum. In this study, a survey was conducted to gain an understanding of veterinary practice and practitioner preparedness for natural and man-made disasters in the United States and Canada, with questions assessing pandemic preparedness. The participants graduated from 28 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)–accredited veterinary colleges globally and 2 non-accredited veterinary colleges, represent a diverse set of veterinary practice types, and have an average of 26 years’ practice experience. Overall, 63.5% of veterinary respondents had experienced a natural disaster, while only 9.6% had experienced a man-made disaster. Approximately 66% report having a practice disaster preparedness plan, while less than 20% of those actively maintain and update the plan. Furthermore, less than 50% of the practices and practitioners were ready to face the challenges of a global pandemic. Approximately 68% reported using some form of communication to educate clients about family and pet disaster readiness. Many felt that some advanced disaster readiness training would have been helpful in their veterinary curriculum. Our findings indicate that additional training in the veterinary curriculum, as well as continuing education, would help veterinarians and practices be better prepared for natural and man-made disasters.
Advance Access Article
Assessing Veterinary Practice and Practitioner Preparedness for Natural and Man-Made Disasters, Including COVID-19
Lawrence N. Garcia, MS, DVM, is Clinical Assistant Professor in Shelter Medicine and Surgery, and Medical Director Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service Team, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, 2015 SW 16th Avenue, PO Box 100126, Gainesville, FL 32610 USA. Email: [email protected]
Candice Stefanou, PhD, is Adjunct Professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, 2015 SW 16th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32610 USA. Email: [email protected]
Carla L. Huston, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVPM (Epidemiology), is Professor and Director of Enhanced Clinical Education, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 6100, Mississippi State, MS 39762 USA. Email: [email protected]
Sarah A. Bell, MEd, is Learning and Organizational Development Specialist II, Office of Academic and Student Affairs, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, 2015 SW 16th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32610 USA. Email: [email protected]