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

Dr. Katherine Polak


Dr. Katherine Polak is the Head of Stray Animal Care – Southeast Asia for FOUR PAWS International, a global animal welfare organization based in Vienna, Austria working to end the suffering of wild, stray, and farm animals. Dr. Polak was a Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Resident at the University of Florida and has maintained courtesy faculty status teaching in the UF online Shelter Medicine Program ever since. Dr. Polak currently manages FOUR PAWS companion animal programs in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on combating the cruel dog and cat meat trade. A specialist in both Shelter Medicine and Veterinary Preventive Medicine, her focus is on veterinary training, high-quality high-volume spay/neuter programs, and organizational capacity building. She works closely FOUR PAWS’ partner organizations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand to create a strong network of stray animal care programs in the region. In 2018, Dr. Polak became the Medical Director for the Humane Society of the United States Spayathon for Puerto Rico.


  • Residency in Shelter Medicine, University of Florida, 2014
  • MS, Forensic Science, University of Florida, 2014
  • Internship in Shelter Medicine and Surgery, Colorado State University, 2011
  • MPH, University of Iowa, 2010
  • DVM, School of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, 2010


  • Maddie’s Excellence in Shelter Medicine Award, 2010
  • Saulsbery Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship, 2010
  • ISU College of Veterinary Medicine Endowment Fund for Academic Excellence Award, 2009
  • Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Externship Scholarship, 2009
  • St. George’s University Veterinary Mentor Scholarship, 2007
  • Tulane University Distinguished Scholar Award, 2006

Selected Publications:

  • Polak K. Dog Transport and Infectious Disease Risk: An International Perspective. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2019 Jul;49:599-613.


  • Polak K, Kommedal AT. Field Manual for Small Animal Medicine. Wiley Blackwell, 2018.


  • Polak KC, Levy JK, Crawford PC, Leutenegger CM, Moriello KA. Infectious diseases in large-scale cat hoarding investigations. Vet J. 2014 Aug;201:189-95.


  • Polak KC, Smith-Blackmore M. Animal shelters: managing heartworms in resource-scarce environments. Vet Parasitol. 2014 Nov 15;206:78-82.