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three wolf cubs playing on a rock

Parasitic and Infectious Diseases

Currently, we are surveying parasitic and infectious diseases in wolves and their close relatives, dogs. As industrial activity such as logging increases in coastal B.C., natural disease cycles may be disrupted and/or new pathogens introduced that could threaten the health of wolves, other wildlife, domestic animals, and humans.

Analysis of scats for evidence of parasites, combined with molecular genetic techniques, is generating information that we are using to develop a spatially-explicit model of parasite distribution in dogs and wolves across the coastal landscape. Blood samples taken from dogs – which serve as ‘sentinels of disease’ in wolves – tell us about infectious diseases to which coastal canids have been exposed. Ultimately, this information will provide baseline knowledge for monitoring existing and potential disease threats.