Disease management of domestic dogs in an indigenous reserve in South America

July 29, 2022
Wei wei dogs

Marissa Milstein, a PhD student co-advised by VBS Assistant Professor Peter Larsen and VPM Assistant Professor Tiffany Wolf, recently travelled to Guyana to investigate how the indigenous Waiwai people in the Konashen Community Owned Conservation Area used a mixed-methods approach to reduce zoonotic disease transmission from wildlife to their dogs. Marissa recently authored a manuscript that was recently published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases that reports her findings. Domestic dogs may harbor numerous diseases that can be transmitted to other domestic and wildlife species, as well as human populations. The Waiwai have developed cultural practices that appear to promote dog health and/or prevent zoonotic disease transmission, but more research is necessary to determine the efficacy of these practices. The study yielded important data on the health of these dogs and the potential for disease transmission to humans in a zoonotic hotspot. The work was also featured on the cover of the journal issue. Marissa's work is part of the ongoing Guyana research efforts of Dr. Larsen's investigative team, and will be a chapter in her final dissertation.
(Image credit: Dr. Tiffany Wolf)