I along with my fellow bloggers have discussed in earlier posts about the concept of One Health. No organism exists in a bubble, isolated from all other ones. We humans who are aware of this inextricable linkage have a responsibility to monitor for a wide range of health hazards, prioritize which ones are of most importance, and ultimately design policy to ensure that populations have access to healthcare. This holds true for humans as much as it does for animals. By working to prevent and treat animal diseases, be those of individual patients or relating to herd health, public health officials, including vets, can protect pet owners as they can consumers.
A fairly significant problem haunting both the human and animal health worlds is that of antimicrobial resistance. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that antibiotic usage in food animals leads to an increase in antimicrobial resistant infections in people, which has very negative consequences. In a similar vein, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers this problem as one of the top public health threats. While it is a very complex issue and one that countries handle differently, we need to continue researching how antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains spread from animals to humans. By no means do I think we should get rid of antibiotics altogether, but I believe that it is high time — for the sake of ourselves and our animal friends — to seriously rethink the what we give to the animals important to our lives.