Objective: To determine the extent to which practicing veterinarians in King County, Washington, engaged in commonly recommended practices for the prevention of zoonotic diseases.
Design: Cross-sectional survey. Sample Population-Licensed veterinarians practicing clinical medicine in King County, Washington.
Procedures: A survey was sent between September and November 2006 to 454 licensed veterinarians practicing clinical medicine in King County.
Results: 370 valid responses were received. A high proportion (280/362 [77%]) of respondents agreed that it was very important for veterinarians to educate clients on zoonotic disease prevention, but only 43% (158/367) reported that they had initiated discussions about zoonotic diseases with clients on a daily basis, and only 57% (203/356) indicated that they had client educational materials on zoonotic diseases available in their practices. Thirty-one percent (112/360) of respondents indicated that there were no written infection-control guidelines for staff members in the practice, and 28% (105/371) reported having been infected with a zoonotic disease in practice.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results illustrated that veterinarians recognize their important role in zoonotic disease prevention and suggested that veterinarians would welcome stronger partnerships with public health agencies and other health professionals in this endeavor. Methods to increase veterinarians' involvement in zoonotic disease prevention include discussing zoonotic diseases more frequently with clients, physicians, and public health agencies; encouraging higher risk individuals to discuss zoonotic diseases; having educational materials on zoonotic diseases available for clients; improving infection-control practices; and ensuring that continuing education courses on zoonotic diseases are regularly available.