A large citizen science project is underway and owners of dogs and cats in the USA have a chance to contribute via a 6 minute survey.
Over 55% of U.S. households own a pet dog or cat. These companion animals can have direct benefits to their owners’ health and well-being. Because pets often share their owners’ living spaces and have accelerated life spans, they can also be important indicators of human exposure to chemicals and potential health risks. Pets can be sentinels for diseases and exposures in a shared environment.
The One Health Commission (OHC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together on the National Pet Health Survey, a research project using voluntary input from dog and cat owners to help identify pet health trends and disease hotspots across the United States.
The OHC is administering the survey with promotional help from CDC’s One Health Office and other organizations. EPA is collaborating with the OHC on this effort and will be analyzing the collected survey data.
The intent for the survey data collection is to provide scientists, concerned pet owners, and the general public with one of the largest health and disease databases for pet dogs and cats across the U.S. Where possible the data will be summarized into data layers and integrated into EPA’s EnviroAtlas website. Through EnviroAtlas, the public will be able to display pet health information by specified areas, such as zip codes or states, in order to learn about emerging pet health issues.
The survey is open to the public and accepting responses (as of October 2017). Data collection will take place until January 20, 2020, or until the maximum number of respondents (300,000) has filled out the survey, whichever comes first.
With the huge number of pets in the United States, I’d suggest getting your form in quickly!
As for New Zealand and other countries, the One Health Commission suggests: If you live outside the U.S., consider leading a pet health survey in your region.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand