Hurricane Disaster Response Updates

  |   Professional News

The WSVMA would like to share important information with you about Hurricane Harvey disaster response.  The key organizations and agencies responsible for the response in Texas have expressed gratitude for the outpouring of offers to help, and would like the veterinary community to know the following:

  1. Do not self-deploy!

While the good intentions are appreciated, a systematic response is essential for effective, efficient progress of response and recovery efforts.  Self-deploying volunteers can actually complicate and add to the work of local emergency management officials. Please do not enter a disaster-stricken area unless you are part of an organized response team with authorized access.

  1. Future volunteer work is possible

The agencies tasked with response and recovery will identify needs for volunteers, and those volunteers will be coordinated through the incident management system. If you are interested in volunteering time to aid recovery efforts you should register now with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster ( and then await word on how and where your efforts can help.  The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has applications available for Temporary Emergency Licenses for out-of-state veterinarians who expect to deploy in Texas.  To facilitate supporting future incidents, veterinarians may want to consider joining and training with a veterinary medical emergency response team, such as a state veterinary medical reserve corps or local Medical Reserve Corps programs ( For the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Reserve Veterinary Corp, interested veterinarians and veterinary technicians should contact Dr. Minden Buswell at [email protected].

The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) is currently working with Texas, Louisiana, and Florida in providing assistance for veterinary emergency license verification. Veterinarians interested in getting an emergency license in Florida are encouraged to request an official college transcript be sent directly to the AAVSB, to be stored in their national database to expedite the application requirements for the Florida Board. Specific veterinary emergency licensure information can be found in the Board and Agency Directory for each state on our website. Our thoughts are with all areas affected by the storms.

  1. Donate if you can

Emergency officials say the best way to help at present is to donate to reputable organizations that will funnel the right aid to the people who need it.  You might consider these:

  1. Stay informed

The American Veterinary Medical Association has created a special website page covering Hurricane Harvey information for veterinarians, including how AVMA member veterinarians participating in rescue and emergency care related to Hurricane Harvey may apply for reimbursement grants through the AVMF.