Panel Discussion – Animal Rescue – Vets as Frontline Responders during Emergency & Disaster

Panel Discussion
Venue: On-Demand Panel Discussion
Contact Hours: 3 Hours
Course Language: English
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Panel Discussion – Animal Rescue – Vets as Frontline Responders during Emergency & Disaster: Considerations, Communication, Decision Making & Techniques (Recorded 6 April 2021)

Panelists:Jim Green  – British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association, UK
Patrick Pollock  MSc, BVSc, CertES(Soft Tissue), DECVS, DEVDC(Eq), MRCVS – University of
Edinburgh, UK
Claudia Sonder  DVM – Napa Valley Equine, USA
Moderator:     Nicola Housby-Skeggs BVetMed, CertAVP, MRCVS – BARTA Board Chair, Veterinary Director,
The Horse Trust



UK Fire and Rescue Services are called to around 2500 large animal rescue incidents each year. National guidance for fire and rescue services and the UK’s Civil Contingencies Act recognise the importance of trained veterinary responders attending and supporting such incidents. In countries such as the United States, frequent wide scale disasters often involve and create associated needs amongst animals, veterinary intervention is therefore an essential element of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

These scenarios are complicated; often the owner is not present or is incapacitated, multiple stakeholders and agencies are present at the scene with competing priorities and establishing lines of communication can be difficult. In a thirty-year career an equine vet can expect to sustain 7-8 injuries – rescue and disaster environments contain many elements that increase this risk. Adrenalised casualties can be difficult to manage and assess in any environment; entrapment further limits the clinician’s ability to access, triage and establish viability. Understanding the complexity of the environment, the factors needing consideration, establishing lines of communication and embedding yourself within the response team will result in calmer, well managed and successful rescues.

An international panel of multidisciplinary veterinary and non-veterinary experts consisting of an animal rescue specialist from the fire services and seasoned veterinarians with expertise in race horse injuries, individual horse rescues, horse accidents in developing countries and managing animals in natural disaster settings, will be discussing the following scenarios:

  • Individual Equine Entrapment – Horse in Transport
  • Major Incident on a Racecourse – Human & Equine Injuries
  • Wildfire Incident – Wide Scale Evacuations from Urban/Rural Interface


Panel Discussion Registration Process:    Once you have registered and upon payment, you will receive the link to access the on-demand recording for a period of 8 weeks. If you wish to receive a Certificate of Attendance after having viewed the webinar, please get in touch with us and we will send it to you electronically.


  • VetPD

    Patrick Pollock
    BVMS, PhD, CertES(Soft Tissue), Dipl.ECVS, FHEA, FRCVS

    United Kingdom

    European & RCVS Specialist in Equine Surgery
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    Patrick qualified from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 1998 and after a spell in mixed general practice in North East Scotland undertook an Internship and Residency in Large Animal Surgery at University College Dublin, Ireland followed by a Lectureship in Large Animal Surgery at the same institution.  He became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2004. Following this Patrick worked as senior surgeon in the Large Animal Hospital at the University of Copenhagen Dublin before returning to The Weipers Centre Equine Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Scotland as Senior Lecturer in Equine Surgery. Patrick was Senior Lecturer in Equine Surgery at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh.  Patrick is now Professor of Veterinary Surgery and Remote and Rural Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

    Patrick has recently performed surgery across the UK, and in Ireland, Scandinavia, France, the USA, the Middle East and Africa. He has taken the lead in development of dynamic overground endoscopy, and has clinical interests in minimally invasive surgery, standing surgery, wound healing and all aspects of performance investigation and the equine upper airway. Patrick is a consultant to the Veterinary Wound Healing Library and has published widely in books and peer-reviewed veterinary journals and lectures regularly at national and international courses/conferences on equine surgery. In addition Patrick has an interest in working equidae and has travelled widely in the developing world providing clinical training for local veterinary surgeons and animal owners.
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    Jim Green

    United Kingdom

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    Jim comes from the New Forest in Southern England where he began his career as a forest manager, working in private and state managed forests including a season as a first attack forest firefighter in Victoria, Australia.

    In 1996 Jim joined Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service as a firefighter where his rural background was instrumental in developing awareness of a range of rural issues, including response to animal rescues, agricultural fire safety and wildfire. But it was dedication to animal response that defined Jims career. For 12 years Jim led a local and national drive to improve knowledge and skills for this challenging operational incident type, orchestrating teams within Hampshire and training rescue Team Leaders and veterinarians throughout the UK and further afield.

    Jim is internationally recognised and has been keynote speaker or coordinator of conferences in the UK, Turkey, USA, Australia and Europe. He is recipient of national awards for his work through the RSPCA, National Equine Forum and British Horse Society. He supported the vet services team at the 2012 Olympics and lectures at veterinary universities throughout the UK.

    In 2017 Jim took a sabbatical and worked at the University of California, School of Veterinary Medicine, helping promote joint understanding within veterinary and fire fighting communities in preparation for the needs of animals during rescues or disasters.

    Jim co-founded BARTA in 2012 and together with Josh Slater, promoted the growing initiative alongside their regular careers.In 2019 BARTA became a subsidiary of the Horse Trust and this partnership enabled Jim to continue the journey as full time Director of BARTA.

    Jim continues to respond operationally to animal incidents through his on call role as an Animal Rescue Specialist with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

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    Claudia Sonder

    United States

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    Claudia grew up in Massachusetts as the fourth of five children. She professed to her parents at the age of five that she wanted to be a veterinarian and spent her childhood years riding and caring for horses. She showed hunters and jumpers as a teenager and worked for a large equine show jumping barn. Claudia attended Tufts University as an undergraduate. where she competed regularly in the Intercollegiate Equestrian circuit while enrolled in the pre-med program. Claudia was accepted into UC Davis Veterinary School in 1990 and graduated after completing the equine track in 1995.

    Dr. Sonder has a long history with this vet clinic, both as an associate veterinarian and as previous owner. She is happy to be back in the saddle as an owner-partner at Napa Valley Equine. Dr. Sonder has a special interest in diagnosing and treating lameness in sport horses, utilizing the latest in digital imaging and joint injection procedures. She also enjoys equine neonatal medicine and assisted reproduction. In her "spare" time Claudia enjoys spending time outdoors with her three children, Molly, Mason and Merren.

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    Nicola Housby-Skeggs
    BVetMed, CertAVP, MRCVS

    United Kingdom

    BARTA Board Chair, Veterinary Director, The Horse Trust
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    Nicky graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2007 and joined The Royal Army Veterinary Corps. She served for 10 years: Firstly, with Military Working Dogs preparing them and their handlers for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Later she served as the veterinary officer for The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment where she developed Large Animal Rescue training as a core activity for the regiments. During this time, she was part of a large and complex team responsible for planning and providing emergency cover for high profile public events. 

    After leaving the military Nicky worked in ambulatory equine practices for 2 years before moving to the charity sector. She now works as the Veterinary Director for The Horse Trust charity providing both the onsite veterinary provision for 150 residents, she provides internal and external training in many areas of equine care as well as providing part of the RVC final year rotations. Nicky is the Chairperson for the Board of directors for the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Association (BARTA).

    Getting involved in BARTA early in her veterinary career, the skills learnt gave Nicky a huge amount of confidence in tackling emergency and rescue scenarios. Throughout her time in the mounted units Nicky worked with an incredibly competent rescue team and used the skills and techniques they were trained in to resolve some complex situations in the public eye. Working closely with BARTA to share experiences, learn, and further develop the training. 

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"I find the panel discussions very helpful...areas of consensus and dissention are illuminated and the conversations make it more understandable as applied to individual cases or situations".

Julie Davis, Circle D Veterinary Services, USA

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