“Between animal and human medicine, there is no dividing line – nor should there be” ~ Rudolf Virchow (a father of modern medicine). This co-op I have taken these words to heart and I held an internship at an animal clinic and at a county hospital.
Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic of Indianapolis (https://www.exoticvetclinic.com/) is dedicated to helping all nontraditional animals as well as wildlife rescues. The patients range anywhere from rabbits, boa constrictors, raptors, lemurs, macaws, and everything in between. Each day is unique and the saying is true that you never know what will walk through that door. I work as a veterinary intern and the interesting thing about this clinic is that everyone is learning.
The environment is one of exploration of different veterinary techniques to learn which ones will work best with exotic animals. The head veterinarian is Angela Lennox and she is one of the leading experts in exotic animal medicine. There is a lot to learn about exotic animal medicine as most of the research and money is spent on dogs and cats. She helps other veterinarians specialize in exotic medicine. There are also many different interns that come and spend a rotation at the clinic which usually lasts three weeks. I, and the other interns, help take care of the animals during the day and after surgery while they recover. I help set up for surgeries and clean up after surgeries and examinations.
Hendricks Regional Health (https://www.hendricks.org/) strives to improve the health of patients through high quality health care in a compassionate, efficient, and technologically advanced environment. I am a hospitalist intern and I follow different doctors on different days. A hospitalist specializes in internal medicine and cares for adult patients that are admitted to the hospital. I have seen patients in many different wings of the hospital such as the surgery ward, the medical floor, ER (emergency room) patients, and ICU (intensive care unit). The doctors I follow are also part of another organization called Acute Rehab Medicine Specialists, or ARMS for short. ARMS is about transitional medicine and helps patients continue the rehab process after they have left the hospital so that they can have an easier and smoother adjustment.
At both places I see a range of patients, but I have recently learned about the One Health movement which I read about in Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. In the book it discusses how every human disease, mental illness, or psychological behavior has a direct correlations to diseases in animals. With a union between these two sides of medicine that are part of the same coin all species can benefit. And One Health doesn’t just stop at animal and human health it also wants to improve wildlife, ecological, and world health.
The One Health Initiative (https://onehealthinitiative.com/) is a movement that is working on uniting veterinarians, physicians, ecologists, and more to work together to improve the health of all species and the world. The One Health Initiative is based upon the principle that there is one world, one medicine, and one health. One health looks at the individual, population, and ecosystem level of health for animals, humans, and plants. The One Health resolution was adopted by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 2007. Later other organizations and countries adopted the resolution. But there are still many who do not know of this movement and there is a large rift between the human and animal sides of medicine. This movement cannot be fully realized until the obvious truth that humans are mammals, and therefore animals, is accepted. We have to understand that we are very much connected to everything and everyone else around us whether directly or indirectly.
We have this one world that we live in and share. There are continuous feedback loops in place that include the nutrient cycles, human behaviors, and the activities of all species across the planet. I recently ran across a quote from Niels Bohr that reminded me of our “Be ashamed to die” quote from Horace. Bohr stated that “Every human being must aim to make things better than they are now.” So I hope to live up to these two great quotes, but I hope to do more than win a victory for humanity; I want to win a victory for the world and all that live here.
More Articles on One Health:
“What is One Health?” Henrik Lerner and Charlotte Berg
“Our Animal Natures” by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
“The Manhattan Principles on One World, One Health”