One Health Day 2023

What is One Health?

One Health is an interdisciplinary effort that recognizes that human health is connected to the health of animals and the environment. Scientific silos prevent the advancement of protecting public health. Communicating more effectively can help us be better equipped for challenges that will affect us in the future.

Veterinarians and One Health

Veterinary medicine plays an important role in the health of animals, humans and the environment. Worldwide, nearly 75 percent of all emerging human infectious diseases in the past three decades originated in animals, This fact alone puts veterinarians at the forefront of disease surveillance and diagnosis.

What are common One Health issues?

Many people think of emerging infections and zoonotic diseases as the primary topic in One Health. There are other facets to One Health that include:

Disaster Preparedness

Veterinary professionals should be prepared and are needed to deal with complex problems associated with natural disasters, nuclear and bioterrorist agents.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

This is a huge area of concern. In the US, more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year. In 2019, AMR resistance killed approximately 1.27 million people worldwide and about 5 million deaths were associated with AMR.

Scientists around the world have provided strong evidence that antibiotic use in food animals can lead to resistant infections in humans. Studies have shown that:

  • Antibiotic use in food animals allows antibiotic-resistant bacteria to grow and crowd out the bacteria that do respond to antibiotics
  • Resistant bacteria can contaminate food from the animals
  • Resistant bacteria in food can cause infections in humans

Veterinarians need to be aware of good antimicrobial stewardship and should not be influenced by their client. It is our job to educate the client.

Human-Animal Bond

As defined by AVMA— “The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian’s role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals.”

Pet therapy

  • Anyone who has owned and loved their pet recognize that they have helped you when your lonely. They offer unconditional love during times of chronic illness and offer great companionship

Medical assistance animals

  • Diabetic patients
  • Special needs children and adults
  • Seizure patients
  • Stroke victims
  • Wounded soldiers

How can veterinary professionals learn more about or become involved with One Health efforts?

As a veterinarian, you have a unique opportunity to work and educate your clients on so many of the topics under One Health. To be a member of the veterinary profession that is bestowed with trust and credibility also requires a level of social responsibility to the public.

Examples of One Health issues:

  • Ebola virus
  • COVID-19
  • SARS
  • Monkeypox
  • Anthrax
  • Hantavirus

Additional One Health Resources

Thank you to Dr. Wendy Cuevas-Espelid for helping put this post together!