In Canada, it is estimated that 20% of people who are experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness are pet owners. It has been reported that the bond between companion animals and this population is typically stronger than the general population. This bond is associated with numerous health benefits and can act as a motivator for changes in healthy behavior, yet vulnerably housed pet owners also experience increased barriers to accessing healthcare services for both themselves and their pets.
The registered charity Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) has the mandate to mitigate these structural and socio-economical barriers by coordinating and delivering “One Health” clinics in the community. One Health clinics offer integrated veterinary and human health services, which aim to improve public health and build on the health benefits of this human-animal relationship. CVO has been operating in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada since 2016, and anecdotal data demonstrates the success of the program. However, to date, no formal program evaluation has been completed for Vancouver’s One Health clinics. The aim of this project was to evaluate the CVO Vancouver One Health Clinics and its capacity to connect marginalized community members to healthcare services and promote public health, through the use of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Program Evaluation Framework. Findings from this study demonstrate that CVO Vancouver One Health Clinics achieve their short, intermediate, and long-term outcomes by promoting access to care and improving the health of vulnerably housed people and their pets.
One Health / One Welfare: human, animal, and environmental health