If you just can't get enough of diseases spread between animals and humans -- well, reading about them, anyway! -- you need to follow the Worms and Germs blog from Drs. Scott Weese and Maureen Anderson of the Ontario Veterinary College's Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.
In recent posts, the authors debunked the really bad, horrible, truly terrible hype masquerading as science about cats, mental illness and toxoplasmosis. They gave us all a reassuring reality check on canine giardiasis, and took a hard, critical look at rescue transport and disease. (For a second opinion on that last subject, check out Dr. Elizabeth Berliner's recommendations here.)
Education about zoonotic disease isn't always the most appealing sheltering topic. Rarely do posts about zoonoses go viral on Facebook, and they're not the stuff of Instagram celebrity pets' bios. They're typically not the workshops everyone's buzzing about at conferences, either.
But if you scan the newspaper headlines, you'll find health risks to humans from animals get a lot of hype -- hype that can be as deadly as the diseases themselves when pets are wrongly blamed for health threats all or mostly attributable to other causes.
And for those of us in the shelter world, a lack of understanding of zoonotic disease can turn into a medical and PR nightmare if the wrong microbe gets past our doors.
You can stay up to date on the bugs of biggest concern to sheltered pets by subscribing to Worms and Germs via RSS or email -- the sign-up links are in the right hand column at www.wormsandgermsblog.com