Since its inception in 1986, the OVMA’s charitable arm, the Animal Health Foundation of Oregon, has focused on helping people help animals by supporting endeavors relating to disaster preparedness and response, animal welfare, and the human-animal bond.
In early December 2022, the Foundation provided a $15,000 grant to the Dean’s Fund for Disaster Response, a dedicated pool of money for Dr. Sue Tornquist, Dean of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, to direct for supporting a veterinary approach to disaster preparedness and response. This particular grant will be earmarked to provide disaster training and education to veterinarians, veterinary support staff, and veterinary students.
The training and education is managed and directed by DAM Vets, the College’s Disaster Action Management team, and is a coordinated effort with the Oregon Department of Agriculture Animal Health and OVERT (the Oregon Veterinary Emergency Response Team). The OVMA has also been supportive and has participated in various meetings on this topic.
Wildfires Wreak Havoc Across the State
The 35 fires that swept across western Oregon the late summer of 2020 and engulfed approximately 5 million acres highlighted an ongoing need for rapid response to emergencies and disasters affecting the health, safety and welfare of animals from pets to livestock and wildlife.
In response to this disaster, the Foundation stepped forward with several grants:
- $10,000 to Sound Equine Options for medical care and treatment of horses affected – mostly by the Riverside Fire – by the wildfires and tended to by SEO’s team of veterinarians and support staff.
- $4,000 to two humane organization in Southern Oregon that evacuated, rescued and treated hundreds of pets during the wildfires that hit this region of the state especially hard.
Helping the Profession Prepare for Disasters
In 2017, the OVMA received a $5,000 grant from the Foundation to create and distribute a packet entitled Disaster Preparedness: Resources for Veterinarians and Clients to all active Oregon veterinarians. The packet provided clinicians with material on including pets and large animals in disaster planning that can be easily distributed as client handouts, and also information on the critical elements to keep in mind while creating an action plan for the veterinary business before and after a disaster.
Veterinary Education and Disaster Preparedness
The Foundation generously supported educational presentations as part of the Animal Welfare Track at the Oregon Veterinary Conference, in 2015 and 2012. The combined grants of $3,000 enabled the OVC to bring in speakers to address the role of the veterinary profession during a disaster and how best to protect the veterinary business with careful planning.
Supporting Veterinarians in Local Communities
The Foundation issued a $5,000 grant in 2012 to Lane County Animal Services for the purchase of a veterinary response trailer (still in use today) and important stock medications. Veterinarians in the area continue to be instrumental in leading the county’s response to disasters, most recently this past fall and in 2020.
Animals and Disaster Planning: A State Outreach
In 2008, the Foundation matched a $5,000 grant by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation for the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Department of Animal Health to develop a booklet of protocols for assisting animals in a disaster and conducting a series of workshops across the state for veterinarians about their roles and responsibilities during such events.
Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005, an estimated 250,000 dogs and cats were displaced or died as a result of this devastating event. Countless livestock – cattle and horses – were also harmed throughout the Gulf Coast. In response to the devastation and need, the Foundation distributed two grants totaling $27,000 to help local veterinarians address the care and medical needs of animals in Louisiana and Mississippi.