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I bet you think of your veterinarian as the person who makes your pet healthier, right? And that’s true, but I also bet you don’t know how much veterinarians — yours and others — are involved with human health. Because I’m proud of my colleagues, I want to share a little about some of the work they do that most people don’t know about — but that we all count on for our own health, every day.
The veterinary profession is part of an effort known as the One Health Initiative, which brings together all medical professionals in a worldwide collaboration to improve human health. Because many human diseases start in animals, veterinarians are an essential part of detecting disease outbreaks that could devastate human populations.
Even before you think about the scary prospect of any sort of global pandemic, think about the health of your family. While it’s far more likely for anyone to catch a disease from another person, there are health risks associated with close contact with animals, pets included. These risks are categorized as “zoonotic,” and for the most part, they’re easily managed. As I always say, “Lose the risk, keep the pet.” Your own veterinarian is part of your management team, in a couple of critical ways:
Parasite control. Fleas, ticks and worms aren’t just a problem for your pets. When your pets are infested with parasites, the people they’re around are at risk of contracting diseases carried and transmitted by parasites. That’s why having your veterinarian provide you with a specific plan to control parasites is so important. Of course, you have to do your part, too, with such simple strategies as picking up the yard and scooping the litter box frequently, and washing and vacuuming pet areas. These actions interrupt the reproductive cycle of parasites and keep your entire family safer and more comfortable.
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