Make One Health the One for You

Nov 1 | News, WVMA News

By Dr. Chris Olson, DVM, CVA, Country View Veterinary Service 

If there ever was a time to consider joining One Health, that time is now. The One Health committee works at the local and regional levels to achieve optimal health outcomes by recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. The connections between animal and human health are not limited to zoonotic diseases. For instance, the same Ixodes tick transmits Lyme disease, and the disease has similar symptoms and treatment for people and dogs. 

Although I have known about One Health for years, I recently joined WVMA’s One Health committee. My interest piqued while discussing some of these diseases with my brother, sister, and sister-in-law, who work in human medicine as PAs and an MD. I was surprised that my family members didn’t realize how often veterinarians treat similar diseases in animals. I’ve also had clients report that their family doctors want me to check their dog for Group A streptococci suspecting that the dog could be a carrier and the cause of family members’ recurring infections. As a veterinarian, you are probably aware that there has not been an established correlation between Group A infection between dogs and humans. 

This is where One Health’s collaboration and transdisciplinary work is so important, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. I joined One Health to help learn about new zoonotic diseases in our area and better understand their impact on people and animals. I also have my eye on the environmental impact. 

Many of the members of One Health have masters or doctorate degrees in public health or epidemiology or work at DHS or DNR. I do not, but veterinarian representation on the One Health committee is valued since we individually can continue to make connections with people in human medicine, have conversations to help stop disease spread, and problem-solve regarding human and environmental impacts. 

The world is changing; wild and domestic animals have more connections with humans, and those can impact positively and negatively. Environmental changes can lead to diseases that were not there before. By joining the state One Health committee as a veterinarian, you help us stay ahead of these changes. I urge you to consider joining us. 

For more information, reach out to WVDL Director Dr. Keith Poulsen at Keith.Poulsen@wvdl.wisc.edu