Veterinarians in Crisis: Effects of Infrastructure Damage on Veterinary Clinics in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria 

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2023-05

Authors

Clapp, Paulina

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Abstract

With the state of the earth’s climate, hurricanes will always be prevalent, especially in areas like Puerto Rico. Hurricanes are known for their strong winds and flooding. Both can lead to infrastructural damage to buildings. This study specifically pertains to veterinary clinics and their responses to these damages. There is a lack of research focusing specifically on the impact of Hurricane Maria on veterinary clinics in Puerto Rico. The purpose of this qualitative research was to assess veterinary clinics infrastructure damages caused by Hurricane Maria and how these clinics responded to these changes. Responses from veterinary clinics were retrieved through an interview consisting of various open-ended questions. These questions pertained to the following three objectives: the prevalence of structural damage to veterinary clinics after Hurricane Maria, the impact on veterinarians’ capabilities to perform medicine and maintain animal welfare, and the veterinarians’ response to these limitations. Findings revealed that the two veterinary clinics did not greatly suffer from infrastructure damage. The biggest impact was from the power outage, but veterinarians adapted by utilizing backup generators and natural light. Even though the clinics were not majorly damaged infrastructurally, the results suggested that the hurricane caused damage to the cosmetic parts of the buildings. The results showed a lack of thorough disaster plans made before the hurricane. Recommendations for practice include investments in efficient backup generators, the creation of in-depth disaster preparedness plans, and utilizing sturdy building materials. Recommendations for further research include a quantitative study with a larger sample size to better represent the population. An examination of disaster preparedness for various animal industries and other disasters is recommended.

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Keywords

Hurricane Maria, disaster relief, disaster preparedness, veterinary clinics, climate, Honors College

Citation

Clapp, P. (2023). Veterinarians in crisis: Effects of infrastructure damage on veterinary clinics in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Honors College, Texas State University.

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