Katherine Polak

Dr. Katherine Polak

Dr. Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPM, DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)

Dr. Katherine Polak leads the Companion Animals & Engagement team for Humane Society International, working to improve companion animal welfare around the world through humane management of street dog populations, community engagement, veterinary training, and ending the cruel dog and cat meat trade in Asia. Before joining HSI, Dr. Polak managed animal welfare programs and campaigns across Southeast Asia with Vienna-based NGO FOUR PAWS.

Dr. Polak is a veterinary specialist, double-boarded in veterinary preventive medicine with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and in Shelter Medicine with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. She completed a residency in Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida and an internship in Shelter Medicine & Surgery at Colorado State University. She holds master’s degrees in both forensic medicine and public health, and has authored numerous scientific papers and articles. She is a frequent speaker at veterinary conferences and co-editor of the book Field Medicine for Small Animal Medicine published by Wiley Publishing. She currently sits on the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee and International Advisory Board for the Alliance for Contraception of Cats and Dogs. 


  1. Polak, K: Dog Transport and Infectious Disease Risk – An International Perspective. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2019.02.003
  2. Polak, K. & Kommedal, T. (July, 2018) Field Manual for Small Animal Medicine. Wiley, Ames ISBN: 978-1-119-24327-4
  3. Polak, K and Blackmore, M: Animal shelters: Managing heartworm in resource-scarce environments. Veterinary Parasitology, 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.03.023
  4. Polak, K, Levy, J, Crawford, C: Prevalence of infectious disease in cats rescued from large-scale hoarding cases, The Veterinary Journal, 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.05.020.

Courses taught:

VME6939: Topics in International Shelter Medicine

VME6816: The Role of the Animal Shelter in Protecting Community and Public Health

VME6950: Capstone Project Presentation

VME6951: Communicating Research about Shelter Medicine