Disaster Preparedness and Response

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Disaster Training and Response Program is a partnership with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) providing training and emergency response efforts for disaster situations where animals are involved. Course development over the past 10 years has focused on core skills including evacuation, technical large animal rescue, emergency management, shelter operations, slack water rescue, biosecurity, planning, and safety. Both introductory, awareness, and operational level courses are part of LSU Vet Med’s professional training for veterinary students and part of the public education program for graduate veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other animal care personnel. Courses are often part of actual on-going emergency response situations in Louisiana such as Hurricanes Gustav and Isaac, and individual animal rescues from floods or vehicular accidents.

When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the Southern Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines and surrounding areas, LSU Vet Med and LSART were well-positioned to help and are now a go-to source nationally for animal response. Training sessions are often coordinated along with local animal control agencies because they are the officials who are responsible for animals in a parish (or county). The training program places students with local first responders such as firefighters and emergency services personnel for hands-on training. LSU Vet Med is one of the few veterinary schools to offer a robust training program in animal disaster response.


Our Team

  • Mustajab H. Mirza, MS (LSU 1998), DVM, Clinical Assistant Professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Large Animal Operations, LSART

  • Neely Walker, PhD, Equine Specialist, LSU AgCenter

  • Renee Poirrier, DVM (LSU 1988), CVA, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Private Practitioner, Acadiana Veterinary Clinic, Director, LSART

  • Cindy Meeker, Certified Farrier, CRM Farriery, Slaughter, LA, Logistics/Operations, LSART

Aerial view

Large-Scale Responses

  • Tropical Storm Allison – 2001
  • Hurricane Ivan – 2004
  • Hurricanes Katrina & Rita – 2005
  • Hurricane Gustav – 2008
  • Deep Water Horizon Gulf Oil Spill - 2010
  • Mississippi River Rising – 2011
  • Hurricane Isaac - 2012
  • Great Louisiana Flood - 2016
  • Tornado Response - 2017
  • Hurricane Michael - 2018
  • Hurricane Laura - 2020
  • Hurricane Ida - 2021
Aerial viewimage of Hurricane Katrina from space