Veterinarians and public health

Veterinarians protect people, animals, and society

Whether or not you own an animal, veterinarians affect you. The health of animals, people, and the environment are interconnected—it's called One Health—and the work of veterinarians protects people in ways you might not realize.

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. They prevent and treat zoonotic diseases—diseases that can affect both animals and people—from rabies to avian flu. Veterinarians also are key 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. 

Diseases and disease prevention