The catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina on America's Gulf Coast has killed thousands of people and animals, displaced hundreds of thousands of others, and caused billions of dollars worth of property losses.

On the front lines of this disaster are about 100 veterinarians from the American Veterinary Medical Association's Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT), including one from Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center at Morven Park in Leesburg.

Jennifer Brown, clinical assistant professor in equine surgery and emergency care at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's (VMRCVM) Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, has been deployed to the Gulf Coast as a member of the AVMA’s VMAT- 2.

”There is an important role for veterinary medicine to play in helping our nation deal with this terrible disaster and we are very proud of the work that Dr. Brown is doing during this crisis,” said Gerhardt Schurig dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

AVMA VMAT teams are working closely with other emergency services personnel throughout the affected Gulf Coast areas to assess and deal with the animal and public health issues associated with the catastrophe.

Since 1994, VMAT teams have been deployed to both natural and manmade disasters such as Hurricane Floyd and the Sept. 11th tragedy to assist in the delivery of medical help to injured animals and to provide public health advice.

In 2001, another VMRCVM professor, Marie Suthers-McCabe, was dispatched through an AVMA VMAT team to provide assistance at “Ground Zero” of the World Trade Center disaster.

Meanwhile, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine leaders are continuing to work with other members of the veterinary medical community in an effort to evaluate and possibly develop other ways to assist.

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