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Vets, emergencies, crises and eradication

Veterinary Emergencies

copyright European Commission/OIE – www.vetsinyourdailylife.org

Other veterinarians operate outside of the realm of domestic or farm animals, but rather with wildlife and environment.  These veterinarians partner with zoologists and conservationists, and are often at the fore of emergency relief to treat animals affected by oil spills, forest fires, and other natural disasters, which not only affect wildlife, but very often farm and domestic animals as well.

All veterinarians, from those who work with farm animals to pets to wild animals, play a crucial role in protecting human health as well by managing crises such as zoonotic diseases and foodborne diseases. Cross-border collaboration, communication and cooperation between veterinarians, represented by the World Veterinary Association (WVA), and the various animal and human health-focussed agencies and industries they work with, such as the OIE, FAO and WHO, are important parts of global health initiatives.

The work these veterinarians undertake has been integral to the containment and eradication of several major diseases that have harmful effects on both human and animal health. One of the most well-known cases is Rabies, which can be deadly in both humans and animals. Through vaccination programmes, the disease has been largely eliminated in eliminated in Europe, though it sadly still being tackled in areas of Africa and Asia. Another example is Rinderpest, also known by its more ominous title, the Cattle Plague. This disease was one of the most devastating and deadly diseases to affect cattle, with an 80% fatality rate, and had been a recorded pestilence to farmers for centuries. Just recently, through the efforts of veterinarians, researchers and the animal health industry, the FAO and OIE were able to declare the disease eradicated entirely, the second disease in the world to be completely eradicated, after smallpox.