As we learned during Hurricane Katrina, animals are far too often left to fend for themselves during natural disasters. North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine seeks to change that through an initiative requiring all veterinary students to receive disaster training.
Students earn advanced state and federal disaster training certifications upon completing the program, which deals with a variety of disaster response issues for numerous species.
Students are taught to work with both people and animals—for example, learning how to set up and operate mobile animal shelters located near emergency shelters for displaced people. Students also learn skills like how to respond to an epidemic in livestock to stop the disease from spreading.
The program is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s “One Medicine” philosophy that human and animal health rely on overlapping fields of scientific and medical knowledge and related fields of research.
“We need to protect the health of the people and the health of the animals—whether they are pets or livestock related to a region’s livelihood,” says Dr. Dianne Dunning, director of the university’s Animal Welfare, Ethics, and Public Policy Program. “We believe this training will help veterinarians respond to the needs of both people and animals.”