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One health high on the agenda at world congress

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This year, the annual BSAVA congress had an added dimension as the association also hosted the congresses of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA). A key theme of the congress, held in Birmingham from April 11 to 15, was ‘one health’ and how small animal vets can contribute globally. Kathryn Clark reports

‘IT's a small world in which our small profession can have a very a big impact.’

So said the BSAVA president, Andrew Ash, explaining why ‘one health’ had been chosen as a major theme for the world congress: given the international aspects of this year's congress, it had seemed particularly appropriate, he said.

Speaking at a press conference on the first morning of the congress, Mr Ash introduced Michael Day, the then junior vice-president of the BSAVA and chair of the WSAVA's One Health Committee, who explained why it was important that companion animals ‘had a place at the table’ when one health issues were discussed.

In the early days of the one health initiative, the focus had very much been on food-producing animals, he said, with companion animals often overlooked. However, there were large numbers of companion animals in developed nations, and they were also important in developing countries – and there were huge one health issues associated with them. While, traditionally, it was dogs, cats and rabbits that were thought of when considering companion animals, a range of species were now being kept in the domestic environment; for example, Professor Day noted, the backyard chicken was fast becoming the third most popular companion animal in many countries, including the UK. There were health issues associated with the increasing range of species being kept as companion animals.

In terms of one health, companion animals had three …

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