Pets and People – joint health care promotions gain ground

Auburn University veterinary student Michelle Goree, left, was recognized with awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Hill’s Pet Nutrition. She is pictured with her advisor, Dr. Charles Hendrix, professor at AU College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo courtesy of Auburn University.


A healthcare education program co-developed by an Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine student is a fine example of cross-promotion between human and veterinary medicine.

“Heart to Heart,” the grant-winning program created by veterinary junior Michelle Goree and Sarah Matteson, a student at the Medical College of Georgia, encourages pet owners to have their blood pressure checked on the same day they give monthly heartworm medication to their dogs.

Another program being developed by Auburn students involves dog walking, said Charles Hendrix, DVM, PhD, professor at the AU College of Veterinary Medicine. By encouraging dog owners to get out and walk their companion animals more often, the program would promote better health for both pets and people. An Australian report showed that $175 million ($113.5 million USD) in human healthcare costs could be saved in that country if people walked their dogs more often, Hendrix said.

“The key thing (to remember) in caring for another living creature is the dog needs to be healthy, but the person has to be healthy to care for them,” Hendrix said.

In another example of cross-promotion, an Aug. 2 health fair in Valencia, Calif., offered alternative medicine treatments and wellness programs for pets and their owners alike.

“I would advise veterinarians to become involved with human healthcare teams … we need to let our light shine,” Hendrix said.