Objective: Because most bioterrorist disease agents are zoonotic, veterinarians are important partners in preparedness. New York State is a prime port of entry and has a network of health and emergency management agencies for response. However, knowledge and participation by veterinarians has not yet been assessed.
Methods: A 25-question survey was mailed out to approximately half (1832) of the veterinarians licensed in New York State. Participants were asked about past emergency preparedness training, likelihood of participating in future training, preferred training topics, and their relationship with their local health department (LHD).
Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 529 veterinarians (29%). Most (83%) reported that they were likely to participate in emergency preparedness training, but in the past 2 years, only 14% received training in zoonotic disease outbreaks and 12% in emergency preparedness. Only 21% reported having a relationship with their LHD, but 48% were interested in having one. Lack of time was the biggest obstacle to involvement with the LHD (40%). Most (69%) of those responding to the survey said they would participate in training once per year or more often.
Conclusions: Inducements, such as earning continuing education credits, or the development of active networks of preparedness organizations, state and local health departments, and veterinary schools are needed to deliver emergency preparedness training and information efficiently to veterinarians.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2010;4:300-305)