At the Ready

Evacuating, sheltering and caring for animals are enormous tasks made more difficult during disasters like wildfires. But CVET is ready to lead a statewide coordinated effort of veterinary care when disasters strike.

Administered by the school’s One Health Institute, the California Veterinary Emergency Team, or CVET, supports and trains a network of government agencies and organizations to aid domestic animals and livestock during emergencies.

“Although we hope to never see disasters, we know that when they come they can be devastating to our pets, horses and livestock,” said Dean Mark Stetter. “I’m glad that we are ready to help the next time there is a need.”

​​​​This fire season, CVET is ready to provide counties across the state with veterinary support when local resources have been exhausted and state assistance is needed.

A vet treats a horse after a wildfire
A student VERT volunteer treats a horse at an evacuation center in a past wildfire event.
CVET van

A Mobile Command

CVET is equipped with numerous response trailers of various sizes that will serve as mobile in-field hospitals and exam rooms for injured animals, as well as a horse trailer and several vehicles. A 44-foot trailer is currently being retrofitted to provide additional exam space, as well as sleeping quarters for veterinarians, should the team be called to a remote location.

“Having ready-to-go resources on hand allows our veterinary team to show up with the resources to provide exceptional veterinary care in the field, treating burns, injuries, and other conditions as the need arises,” said veterinarian Ashley Patterson, CVET’s associate director of operations.

Transition from VERT

With the formation of CVET, the personnel, equipment, knowledge and legacy of the previous UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team, or VERT, was folded into CVET. This expanded UC Davis’ veterinary disaster response capacity from a local county effort to a statewide response. 

UC Davis VERT typically triaged, evaluated, treated or rescued more than 1,000 animals every wildfire season.

Today, CVET has a team of dedicated full-time staff who are responsible for the operations and management of the program and its growing network of veterinary professionals.

Dr. Briana Hamamoto
Dr. Briana Hamamoto ’22 joined CVET as an operations specialist.

An Aggie Returns

Dr. Briana Hamamoto recently joined CVET as an Operations Specialist. No stranger to UC Davis, she received her DVM as well as her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the school in 2022. While in veterinary school, Hamamoto was heavily involved with VERT, first as a volunteer responder and eventually serving as President of sVERT (the student club for VERT responders).

Additionally, Hamamoto serves as the Emergency Response Committee Chair for the Northern California Association of Equine Practitioners Emergency Response Team, gaining further valuable experience responding to multiple major wildfires in Northern California.

Following graduation from veterinary school, Hamamoto worked as an associate equine practitioner in Auburn, Calif., during which time she was invited by Placer County to serve as a veterinarian for the Mosquito Fire response in 2022. Her dedication and expertise in veterinary medical disaster response has brought her full circle to where it all began to help CVET enhance statewide veterinary preparedness, as well as provide veterinary care to animals during disasters.


Cvet tradeshow booth
Will Burke, associate director of planning for CVET at an information booth during the PacVet Conference.

Next Steps

In addition to response, our program supports and trains a network of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and individual veterinary professionals to assist in the veterinary care of animals during emergencies. Our responders receive training in the incident command system, all hazards safety and CVET operations. In addition, we plan

to offer numerous specialized training opportunities including shelter-in-place support, technical animal rescue, working dog support and many others.

If you are a veterinary professional and would like to learn more about joining CVET as a responder, please contact cvet@ucdavis.edu.