The National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT) is a cadre of individuals within the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)
who have professional expertise in areas of veterinary medicine, public health and research. It is the primary Federal resource for the treatment of injured or ill animals affected by disasters. These responsibilities include:
- Assessing the veterinary medical needs of the community
- Veterinary medical support to working animals (including horses) which might include search and rescue dogs and animals used for law enforcement
- Treatment of injured and ill large and small animals post disasters
- Veterinary medical support for sheltered animals
- Veterinary health screening at points of embarkation and debarkation for any animals
- Veterinary public health support including environmental and zoonotic disease assessment
- Research animal support (Lab animals)
- Support for an outbreak in livestock and poultry (USDA led)
The National Veterinary Response Teams are comprised of individuals with diverse expertise, including veterinarians, animal health technicians, epidemiologists, safety officers, logisticians, communications specialists, and other support personnel. During a response, NVRT provides assessments, technical assistance, public health and veterinary services under the guidance of state and/or local authorities.
NVRT members are private citizens who have been hired as intermittent federal employees and activated in the event of a disaster. They are required to maintain the appropriate and current professional certifications and licensure of their discipline. As intermittent Federal employees when personnel are activated, during the length of a deployment their licensure is recognized by the state(s) requesting assistance. Deployed personnel are compensated for their duty time by the Federal government. In an emergency or disaster response, the National Veterinary Response Teams work using the Incident Command System (ICS). Individuals are assigned to a team which trains in preparation for what might be experienced during a response. During a response, they are enabled by a regional cache of equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals.