You know wellness care is important for your pet’s health, but did you know that such care also is crucial for keeping your family and the environment in good shape? The health of people, animals, and the environment is tightly linked together, which is the basis of the One Health Initiative. This initiative celebrates the interwoven bond of all living things, and the interconnectedness of their health. By ensuring good health for one piece of the puzzle, that wellness is transferred to the rest. Let’s dive into an in-depth explanation of the One Health Initiative, and its importance for our community and our world.

What is the One Health Initiative?

The One Health Initiative is built on the foundation of recognizing that human health (including mental health via the human-animal bond phenomenon), animal health, and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. Being so closely intertwined means that if one segment suffers, the other two suffer. Human health hazards can also be hazards for animals; for example, smoking is not only harmful to people, but also to pets. Medical advances in understanding and treating a disease in one species, such as heart disease in people, may be applied to other species. And, an environmental change can affect all living things, from people, to animals, to plants.

The One Health Initiative recognizes this interconnected relationship and advocates for a comprehensive—rather than piecemeal—approach to health and environmental problems. By building bridges between physicians, veterinarians, environmental scientists, and public health professionals, the initiative aims to “promote, improve, and defend the health and well-being of all species.”

How does my pet’s regular wellness care keep my entire family healthy?

When you understand that the health of all living things is so closely linked, you can also understand how your pet’s health can affect your own. By engaging in regular wellness care for your furry pal, you can keep your entire family—both two- and four-legged members—healthy. A few of the most important preventive measures you can take with your pet include:  

  • Vaccinations against zoonotic diseases – Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted between people and pets, with rabies, which fortunately is not common because of excellent vaccination practices, the most well-known. Rabies is a required vaccination for all cats and dogs, as this disease is fatal without treatment. Leptospirosis, another zoonotic disease, can be transmitted from animals to people through urine, and can cause kidney failure in pets and people. Although zoonotic diseases are harmful to multiple species, good vaccination and hygiene practices can greatly minimize, and sometimes eliminate, risks for health issues. Contact us today to schedule vaccines for your companion.
  • Parasite prevention — Parasites, such as intestinal worms, fleas, and ticks, can transmit diseases to people and pets. While some parasites are species-specific and can thrive only on their ideal host, others are opportunistic and will feed on any living thing. For example, people can become infected with roundworms from their pets through fecal-oral transmission. Children are most likely infected with roundworms because puppies eat infective feces and then lick children on the mouth, or the children eat without washing their hands after playing outside. If your pet does not have proper protection, they may also carry fleas and ticks, which can transmit a multitude of serious illnesses, such as Lyme disease, murine typhus, the plague, and tularemia. However,  ensuring your furry pal stays on year-round heartworm, flea, and tick prevention will keep these parasites from your home, and your family healthy.
  • Physical exams — During your pet’s physical exam, our veterinarian will check them out from nose-to-tail. We’ll search for any abnormalities, and if we find one that is contagious to people, we’ll recommend the best care for your pet that will also keep you safe. For example, we may find that your pet’s hair loss is caused by ringworm, which your pet can transmit to you. Without knowing the proper way to treat your pet and avoid a communicable illness, your entire family could be at risk. Rely on your veterinarian to help guide you on how to safely care for your pet.

By keeping your four-legged friend healthy, you can also help keep your two-legged family members healthy. Preventive care that includes vaccinations, parasite prevention, and regular physical examinations not only protects your pet, but also your family. Give our team a call to schedule your pet’s appointment.