The Veterinary Service consists of 2 fulltime veterinarians supported by a number of part time temporary veterinary inspectors. It is mainly involved in the area of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety with involvement in regulation of Dog Breeding Establishments, Control of Dogs, Control of Horses and on other issues where veterinary expertise is required.
Veterinary Public Health (VPH) is defined by the WHO as 'contributions to the physical, mental and social well being of humans through an understanding and application of veterinary science'. It goes on to say 'human health, animal husbandry and animal health are closely connected and VPH is a fundamental part of public health whereby human health and well being are the main objectives. VPH is multidisciplinary and contributes to many areas of public health that are not always related to animals. In order to integrate veterinary public health into the goals of public health, it is essential to improve collaboration between human and veterinary medical science, environmental science and other related fields - in accordance with the 'One Health' principles.
Interactions among people, animals, and the environment continue to change. The expansion of human and animal populations, changes in climate and land use, and increased international travel and trade provide opportunities for disease spread. Approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans are diseases of animal origin; approximately 60% of all human pathogens are zoonotic. (Zoonotic diseases are those that are spread between people and animals.) 'One Health' obviously includes the human and animal health professions. But, it also includes wildlife specialists, anthropologists, economists, environmentalists, behavioral scientists, and sociologists, among others. 'One Health' embraces the idea that complex problems at the human-animal-environmental interface can best be solved through multidisciplinary communication, cooperation, and collaboration.(USDA APHIS).
VPH is primarily concerned with zoonotic diseases, and plays a pivotal role in developing an integrated 'farm to table' approach to food safety.
The concept of 'One Health' is currently being used and seen as the future in tackling antimicrobial resistant (AMR) pathogens which is leading to a rapid decline in the effectiveness in many essential antimicrobials for the treatment of infectious diseases in both human and animal medicine.