Veterinarians and public health
In this article:
- Learn about the role of veterinarians in public health.
- Discover critical issues that impact the health of both people and animals.
Veterinarians protect people, animals, and society
From issues like food safety and security, to diseases that can be transferred between people and animals, veterinarians have the unique knowledge and experience to address the many ways that animals and people impact one another.
Veterinarians protect people from disease. Veterinarians are the first and best line of defense against animal diseases that could threaten public health and our national security. We prevent and treat zoonotic diseases ranging from rabies to avian flu, and play a key role in responding to bioterrorism threats such as the anthrax attacks that followed 9/11.
Veterinarians safeguard our food. Veterinarians protect the health and welfare of livestock, and oversee meatpacking plants to ensure all meat is safe for human consumption.
Veterinarians make medical discoveries. Veterinarians are crucial to the development of new drugs for both people and animals. As researchers, veterinarians are finding new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent health disorders in all species.
Ensuring that animals have access to food and feed that is free of contamination is critical to their health and the health of the people who care for them. Diseases caused by salmonella, listeria, and other bacteria can be transferred quickly between people and animals. Veterinarians have the latest scientific information to educate animal owners about selecting the right diets for their animals and handling food safely to reduce the risk of bacteria-related illnesses.
Veterinary medicine also is at the forefront of food security, ensuring the production of high-quality foods derived from animals that are free of microbial or chemical contaminants.
Animal food recalls and alerts
Protecting America's food
Zoonotic diseases affect both people and animals, and veterinarians are central to diagnosing, treating, and eradicating them. These diseases include, among others: