Tufts to Host Disaster Animal Rescue Course
North Grafton, MA, April 14, 2011
The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University’s will host a course for its students to prepare them for the unthinkable next week.
Upon completing the school’s first-ever Disaster Animal Rescue Course, veterinary students will be able to join any of the local agencies and organizations prepared to take on floods, earthquakes, fires, disease outbreaks, and any other natural or man-made disasters that can harm or displace animals.
To deliver the five-day elective, instructors from the school’s Shelter Medicine Program will team with representatives from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART), the MSPCA‘s large animal rescue team, the American Humane Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Team, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Recent disasters, ranging from Katrina to Haiti and Japan, have a lot to teach veterinarians about the role of animals in crisis planning, said Dr. Emily McCobb, director of the Cummings School’s Shelter Medicine Program.
By establishing this course, we hope our veterinary students will be prepared to serve their communities should a disaster occur.
Although the program includes nearly 10 presentations from experts in the field, the most popular instructor is Lucky, the MSPCA‘s mannequin horse designed to simulate equine rescue.
Other topics will include an introduction to incident command systems, marine mammal and wildlife rescue, international disaster response and sheltering animals during disasters. Students will also participate in tabletop exercises and may be drafted to refine protocols for use by SMART.
Established in 2008, The Tufts Shelter Medicine program runs several programs for the care and well-being of low-income, shelter-owned and un-owned animals, including low cost spay neuter clinics, a vaccine clinic for the Worcester Housing Authority, and an annual dental day for shelter dogs. The program also offers electives and other programming for Cummings School veterinary students, placing students on rotation at New England area shelter partners. The program aims to improve the quality of life for homeless, displaced, abused or neglected animals through the education of veterinary students, veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals in the principles, core competencies and best practices of shelter medicine.