Chicago, IL — The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) celebrates the third annual One Health Day on Saturday, 3 November 2018 and supports the continued aims of this international campaign in furtherance of the One Health Coalition at a local level.

The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary scientific collaboration and communication in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. One Health is beneficial for the advancement of health care, which serves to protect and save untold millions of lives of people and animals in current and future generations.

According to Dr. Yvette Johnson-Walker, DVM, MS, PhD, a, Lecturer in Clinical Epidemiology at the Center for One Health Illinois, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine:

 “The concept of One Health reminds us that we are all connected: people, animals, and the environment. Those of us who have pets already know this.  Our pets are an integral part of the family. The research is clear that pets bring measurable benefits to our entire family. Contact with pets in early childhood is associated with reductions in childhood asthma and allergies. Pet ownership in adulthood is associated with increased levels of physical activity and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and improved cardiovascular health. Later in life, pet ownership is linked to better mental and emotional health, reduced stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.”

 The human-animal bond demonstrates a number of key benefits which improve the health of humans. Likewise, pet owners must take important steps to protect the health of their pets. The presence of pets in homes can also mean sharing germs and parasites between people and animals. Dr. Johnson-Walker provides these helpful guidelines for individuals to protect themselves, their families, and pets. 

  • Take your pet to the veterinarian at least once per year.
  • Inform your veterinarian promptly if your pet is in contact with an individual who is at increased risk for illness (the very young, old, pregnant, or those with chronic illnesses).
  • Keep vaccinations current for your pet.
  • Use appropriate parasite preventatives.
  • Remove pet waste.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet, their food and bedding.

The CVMA is committed to robust animal disease surveillance programs, disaster planning, and public health initiatives. The veterinary profession also has a strategic leadership role in national security, which includes surveillance for animal borne disease introduction and threats to our human and animal food supplies.

There is much that the veterinary profession is doing to support One Health initiatives through collaboration with One Health coalition stakeholders. Veterinarians provide valuable input and insight within their communities through One Health in the areas of Animal Health, Public Health, Public Safety, and Animal Welfare. The ongoing collaboration between veterinarians, physicians, and health science-related professionals at the intersection of One Health is essential.

The CVMA’s One Health initiatives in conjunction with those of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and allied stakeholders are not just for the benefit of animals and residents in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, but everyone in the State of Illinois and across this nation.