The international prominence accorded the 'One Health' concept of co-ordinated activity of those involved in human and animal health is a modern incarnation of a long tradition of comparative medicine, with roots in the ancient civilizations and a golden era during the 19(th) century explosion of knowledge in the field of infectious disease research. Modern One Health tends to focus on zoonotic pathogens emerging from wildlife and production animal species, but one of the most significant One Health challenges is rabies for which there is a canine reservoir. This review considers the role of small companion animals in One Health and specifically addresses the major vector-borne infectious diseases that are shared by man, dogs and cats. The most significant of these are leishmaniosis, borreliosis, bartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis and anaplasmosis. The challenges that lie ahead in this field of One Health are discussed, together with the role of the newly formed World Small Animal Veterinary Association One Health Committee.