Veterinary Response in the Gulf

May 11, 2010

In the aftermath of the offshore rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, many veterinary professionals have reached out to offer their assistance with the oil spill response efforts, but it is critical that with a disaster of this magnitude, all volunteer efforts be strictly coordinated.

The Humane Society of the United States has reached out to emergency management, wildlife centers, and shelters to offer support and resources when and if needed. Our focus is to provide assistance to rescue groups dedicated to the treating of oiled wildlife, as well as to governmental and non-governmental organizations involved. In addition, staff at our Wildlife Care Center in South Florida is gearing up for the possible intake of affected animals.

In the Gulf Coast states, we're securing sites and schedules for required OSHA training for all volunteers. All courses are on personal safety and are required to assist in the response to the oil spill, regardless of certifications or previous training.

Paraprofessional rehabilitators interested in volunteering to help wildlife affected by the oil spill can learn more here. If you practice in the Gulf Coast area, this document—extracted from the Wildlife Care Basics for Veterinary Hospitals—provides some basic information on how to care for oiled wildlife that may be presented to your clinic. Read more from Deepwater Horizon about their rescue and response efforts, including helpful links and hotlines.

For more information on how this oil spill will affect wildlife in the Gulf Coast, please read a Q&A with Dr. Roberto Aguilar, HSVMA member and staff veterinarian at The HSUS' Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts.