Dr. Christine Smith, past president of Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), introduced the subject of large animal rescue training in Australia at the 5th International Large Animal Emergency Rescue Conference by providing a short history of her own experiences and how she gained her experience “through fearlessness and stupidity” and novel strategies.

Her “Eureka!” moment was when she realized that “better outcomes for people and animals result from emergency services coordination and the veterinary community.”

Since then she has been promoting the effort to educate veterinarians and emergency responders together. Some of the challenges include a difference in terminology used by veterinarians and emergency responders. A good example, she said, was the use of words like anesthesia, tranquilization, sedation, and immobilization. Do you want the animal relaxed, aware, and able to stand, or do you want it on the ground and unconscious? Many emergency responders use the word “sedated” but might actually mean something different.

Working out these difficulties to allow for successful rescues requires training and practice, and there’s no shortage of training opportunities. I’ve offered. Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue training in Australia for five years from TLAER.org at the “Awareness” and “Operations” levels. Additionally, MaryAnne Leighton, and the Queensland Horse Council offer the Large Animal Rescue Roadshow, and Dr. Smith and Anthony Hatch (who was educated in the United States and United Kingdom on a Churchill Fellowship in 2010) offer Safety Access Training.<