Animal Health Week takes place annually every October; this year the theme is One Health. This is a very fitting theme as we are currently enduring a world-wide pandemic that very clearly demonstrates the way that people, animals and our environmental are interconnected! So what does One Health mean to you and what are some simple ways that you can contribute to maintaining the health of these connections?
1) Annual Wellness Exams for your Pet: having your pet examined at least once annually by one of our experienced veterinarians is one of the best gifts you can give them! Examinations allow for identification and discussion of potential underlying health concerns as well as identification of possible risk factors for zoonotic diseases or parasites.
2) Regular intestinal deworming: now more than ever, our pets share our yards, homes and in many cases even our beds! Several types of intestinal worms are zoonotic (meaning these parasites can transfer back and forth between animals and people). Routine deworming reduces the chance of zoonosis and also reduces the parasite load being shed into the environment by infected pets.
3) Good hygiene: after playing with your pet, and especially after cleaning the litter box or picking up any feces, always wash your hands thoroughly to remove any potential contact with parasites or other infectious agents. Prompt pick up of dog fecal matter helps keep the environment clean, both for other pets and people to use, and reduces infection of others.
4) Keep your pet up to date on their vaccinations: especially for diseases such as Rabies which is 100% preventable with vaccination. Other animals potentially in your pet's environment (bats, foxes, raccoons, skunks) are known possible carries for Rabies in our province. An unexpected exposure to some of these potential hosts (bats getting in your home) or a run in with wildlife while on a hike, ensures your pet is protected. Also if your pet were to bite another pet or human, the peace of mind that comes from knowing your pet is up to date on their Rabies vaccination can make the process easier for public health to direct and helps prevent transmission of this fatal disease.
These are all simple things that pet owners can do, that have big impact on helping to protect animals, other humans, and the environments we all share. As always, if you have any additional questions or concerns, never hesitate to reach out to our veterinary team for more information.