Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Role of a Veterinarian

When most people hear the word "veterinarian" they think of one or two things, such as their dog or cat's doctor or James Herriot (showing my age here huh?) If they live on a farm, they may also be familiar with the large animal vet who makes farm calls, no matter the time or weather. We got the US Postal Service beat on this one, I can assure you! 

However, as I've said before - probably on here as well as at educational venues I've spoken to - there are SO many more things we do. Things you don't see. Things you don't think about.

Veterinarians, above ALL medical professionals, are the best trained and most knowledgeable about zoonotic diseases - those that can be transmitted between humans and animals. In vet school, we are given numerous examples of cases where animals were either incorrectly blamed or the wrong info was given by well meaning physicians. They just don't know sometimes. Then "Fluffy" ends up at the shelter. For no good reason.

In any case, we have a HUGE role to play. Even those of us in small animal practice. There are a list of diseases that are "reportable" as well as those that are "foreign." These are SERIOUS in their impact - be it economic or health related or BOTH. It was a vet who helped find West Nile Virus. Veterinarians work with and for the CDC, the USDA, the NIH, state health departments and a host of other agencies and private companies to help protect YOU and your family, not just the family pet or the income your farm animals provide. 

They call this concept "one health" because we all get affected by many diseases, toxins and pollutants. Physicians AND veterinarians are on the look out for these diseases or changes in a disease pattern or species.  We can learn from each other how to combat and prevent these diseases too. 

If you are interested in this please go to this website at the AVMA  to learn more.

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