Practical tools are needed for integration of family and veterinary medicine in the community as part of the larger worldwide One Health initiative. It works to improve the lives of all species by integrating primary health care and veterinary medicine in order to control the risk for zoonotic disease and injury. Barriers to One Health include insufficient zoonotic discussion with clients in veterinary practices and challenges to interprofessional collaboration. Discrepancies exist between veterinarians and physicians in regard to which group they believe bears primary responsibility for client education, as well as in perceptions of which zoonotic diseases are of most concern. Practical tools to integrate family and veterinary medicine will be discussed, including (1) identification of human family members at greatest risk for zoonotic disease and injury (the young, old, pregnant, and immunocompromised, or YOPIs); (2) identifying all pets that live in the family, not just dogs and cats or only pets seen at the practice, as each species will represent increased risks for different zoonotic diseases; (3) creation of a family genogram —a graphic representation of a family tree—that includes pets with species-specific symbols, and integrating this genogram into the practice as part of the patient record; (4) asking clients to give the clinic card to their physicians, and asking for their family physician’s card to attach to their files at the veterinary hospital; (5) offering to speak with a client’s physician about any questions or discussions on zoonotic issues; and (6) encouraging physicians to ask what companion animal species live in each patient’s home.
COMMENTARY: This important presentation will discuss an imperative issue not frequently addressed by those in either the veterinary or human medical fields: zoonoses and risk to human contacts. The primary responsibility for zoonotic education is frequently overlooked, and families are not routinely counseled about zoonotic risk in some cases. This report will describe the family genogram, routinely used in human medical practice, as an important, practical, and easily implemented tool to assess zoonotic concerns and human risk in the family. Inclusion of household pets in the family genogram is an important addition to clinical zoonotic assessment for both the physician and the veterinarian.