Dr. Rebecca McConnico, professor and veterinarian in the School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry at Louisiana Tech University, joined a group of 23 experts to help develop and improve protocol for equine disaster medicine for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).
The group met with the AAEP Foundation board to discuss and prioritize ways that the organization can help the nearly 9,500 members of the AAEP better respond to disasters in their home communities.
“While some communities seem to have effective and efficient response plans for owners of small animals, rural communities or those with a significant equine or agricultural animal presence continue to struggle with caring for their large animals during and after natural disasters such as floods, wildfires and hurricanes,” McConnico said. “Helping local large animal veterinarians ‘plug-in’ to their community infrastructure that includes training in community emergency communications, working with fire fighters, animal control agencies, and other local resources, was a priority consensus for the group. Plans are in the works to further develop education modules and to improve networking opportunities for veterinarians and owners to become actively engaged in community disaster planning and response activities.”
“Increasing the training, communication and connectivity of our AAEP members within their community disaster response infrastructure is imperative,” said Dr. Lisa Metcalf, chair of the Foundation’s Disaster Medicine Subcommittee. “Our best asset is our equine practitioner members, and we need to enhance their ability to be prepared and respond during times of disaster.”
McConnico was also appointed to serve a three-year term on the AAEP Foundation Advisory Council.