Human development and Invasive Species
It is common to find stray dogs and cats in many developing countries. Costa Rica is no different. Left unchecked, these animals may not only suffer from poor nutrition, trauma, and lack of preventative medicine, but they may also serve as disease reservoirs and threaten the ecosystem in key areas of biodiversity. Stray dogs and cats hunt and kill wildlife for recreation, food, or territorial dominance. Songbirds and baby wildlife are especially at risk. Our dogs and cats are indeed an invasive species and we must act to minimize the damage. Dog attacks are one of the top two reasons for monkey admission to our wildlife ICU at Wild Sun.
In addition to other health problems, roaming animals may die of common tropical diseases. We will discuss the fascinating pathophysiology of Ehrlichiosis, the most common-life threatening disease in local dogs.
As veterinarians here, with conservation and ecosystem health in mind, we also assist local communities to decrease pet animal suffering, public health risk, and wildlife destruction. During your CARES program you may participate in a community clinic day, vaccine and anti-parasite treatments, or a spay/neuter campaign.
One Health in Medicine and a Healthy Ecosystem
We encounter the One Heath concept everyday, with intimate interchange of humans, domestic animals, and wild species in our jungle tourist areas. We will take you to a small nearby town, where you will witness the health affects on a monkey population once widely fed by locals and tourists for recreation. Unknowingly, they incentivized the monkeys to live in and around the town, compromising their immune system and causing metabolic abnormalities due to diet alteration. We initiated an awareness campaign this year and the town is now mostly united and protective about not permitting the monkeys to be fed. However, it is an ongoing challenge to prevent this from recurring.