The Greatest Impact of the Veterinary Health Care Team

December 2020 by Dr. Christopher A. Lee

Helping save a life – nothing instills more pride and positive feelings for veterinary health care team members than this. After all, protecting and saving animals is the reason we took on this vocation. Interestingly, the most routine and sometimes overlooked aspects of a healthcare team member’s job can preserve more lives than all antibiotics, surgical techniques or pharmaceuticals. Preventive medicine encompasses not only vaccines and year-round parasiticide control, but also requires client education – whether in-person or on social media – through targeted outreach programs, reminder emails, pet neutering, periodontal prophylaxis, twice-yearly physical examinations, and more.

Beyond being guardians of animals, veterinary health care team members hold a duty to safeguard human health. From education on zoonotic disease, providing rabies vaccines to animals, explaining the pathophysiology of endocrine disease, and (now more than ever) wearing masks and washing hands, people in the veterinary profession worldwide protect people’s lives. To put it in the words Rudolf Virchow once wrote: “between animal and human medicine, there is no dividing line—nor should there be.”

Each veterinary health care team’s responsibility encompasses thousands of pets and the two-legged parents who love them. Providing clear, understandable guidelines to customers can come with its fair share of challenges; but fortunately, many organizations leverage medical specialists to provide up-to-date, relevant information to support our profession, our clients and the pets we care for. Some of these organizations include the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM).

Distilling relevant information from professional resources for each hospital and clinic customer’s needs facilitates a “many mouths, one voice” approach that provides consistency and clarity. And most importantly, the education provided by veterinary health care teams to their customers prevents disease and increases both quantity and quality of life.

Trying to calculate the positive impact that everyone in the veterinary field has on the world remains an impossible task. Humanity has taken the mantle of protector for all life on our precious planet, and the veterinary health care team stands proud at the forefront. On behalf of Merck Animal Health, thank you to everyone within the veterinary profession for all that you do to save, protect, and safeguard the lives of millions.

For more information, please visit:
AAHA – American Animal Hospital Association
AAFP – American Association of Feline Practitioners
CAPC – Companion Animal Parasite Council
CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
ACVIM – American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
ACVPM – American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine

About the author

Christopher A. Lee

Sr. Professional Services Veterinarian