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The contribution of animals to human well-being: a veterinary family practice perspective

By R. P. Timmins

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Abstract

There is considerable evidence that humans can benefit both physically and emotionally from a relationship with companion animals, a phenomenon known as the human-animal bond (HAB). This has not only increased the demand for veterinary services to meet the needs of these non-human family members and their owners, but it has also transformed the nature of those services from reactive medicine and surgery to proactive prevention and wellness. The emotional component of the HAB requires the veterinarian to have a solid understanding of the nature of the attachment between client and pet, and an ability to educate the client about proper care of the animal in order to optimize the relationship. Paying attention to the relationship between client and patient also positions the veterinary family practitioner to refer the client to appropriate community resources for physical, emotional, or other needs of the client that may become apparent during the veterinarian-client interaction. By achieving physical and mental health objectives for patients and collaborating with human health care services, the veterinary family practitioner contributes to the well-being of both patient and client. This new face of veterinary family practice requires research and education in fields that have not traditionally been a part of veterinary training.

Date 2008
Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Medical Education
Volume 35
Issue 4
Pages 540-544
ISBN/ISSN 0748-321X
Language English
Author Address School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. rptimmins@ucdavis.edu
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Tags
  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Diseases
  4. Education
  5. Employees
  6. Goals
  7. Health
  8. Health economics
  9. Health services
  10. Mammals
  11. Mental disorders
  12. Mental illness
  13. objectives
  14. pest control
  15. Pet ownership
  16. Pets and companion animals
  17. Practice and service
  18. practices
  19. prevention
  20. Primates
  21. surgery
  22. targets
  23. training
  24. Veterinarians
  25. Veterinary economics
  26. Veterinary education
  27. Veterinary medicine
  28. Veterinary services
  29. Veterinary surgery