Veterinarians Will Save More Than Their Patients by Acting on Climate Change and Embracing Sustainability

Colleen G. Duncan, DVM, MSc, PhD, William E. Sander, DVM, MPH, Michelle Dennis, DVM, PhD


Issue: Volume 69 Winter 2022

Online Publication Date: 26 December 2022


Climate change is a worldwide health problem. Veterinarians and other health professionals have been called upon to participate in mitigation and adaptation efforts to protect animals and people. The objectives of this article are to review the ways in which climate change impacts animal health and highlight ways in which veterinarians and other animal health professionals can engage on the topic. Disease in terrestrial and aquatic species as well as domesticated and wild animals occurs through a series of shared exposure pathways (temperature, air, water, food, vector-borne disease, extreme events, and welfare). To meaningfully address this problem, the veterinary profession must recognize climate change as part of a complex and interwoven collection of sustainability challenges. Proposed actions include leading by example, building new partnerships, and promoting education, policy, and research. Veterinary professionals are key contributors to global health initiatives and trusted messengers of health information. Lending our voices and actions to address the climate crisis and related sustainability issues will go a long way to protect the health of all species.