Interrelationships between Animal Behaviors and Control of Diseases

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Veterinary Clinical Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 2423

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, DVM, PhD, DACVB, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 1089 Health Sciences Drive, Davis, CA, USA
Interests: animal behavior; behavioral adaptions; animal physiology; behavioral neuroscience; veterinary science

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Guest Editor
MA, PhD, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 1089 Health Sciences Drive, Davis, CA, USA
Interests: animal behavior and welfare; human-animal interactions; anthrozoology; assistance dogs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Animals living in nature are constantly exposed to pathogens and parasites. In contrast to modern medicine, animals in nature (and ancient humans) do not experience immunizing vaccinations, antibiotics when infected with pathogens, or nursing care when sick. Yet they seem to survive and can even thrive in terms of wellness. Many reports of animals living in nature show their behaviors counteracting infections by pathogens or parasites. These will be addressed in this Special Issue and will reveal a complex array of behavioral strategies that prevent or reduce disease: physical avoidance of conspecifics infected with a pathogen; peripheralization of strange conspecifics; the cannibalism taboo to avoid pathogens of recently dead conspecifics; potentiation of the immune system; removal of pathogens by herbal medicine; activation of fever and sickness behaviors in infected individuals; and nursing care of sick conspecifics. While in animals these strategies are species-specific, humans employ all these strategies, as appropriate to the circumstances. An unexplored area is the prevalence of acquired resistance to antibiotics in humans, compared with animals’ lack of acquired resistance in herbal medicine, raising the question of what could be learned from animals’ herbal medicine use.

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Hart
Prof. Dr. Lynette A. Hart
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • animals behavioral strategies
  • behavioral adaptions
  • control of diseases
  • nursing care of sick conspecifics
  • survival and wellness
  • potentiation of the immune system
  • pathogens and parasites

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Review

22 pages, 1171 KiB  
Review
Neurobiology of Pathogen Avoidance and Mate Choice: Current and Future Directions
by Dante Cantini, Elena Choleris and Martin Kavaliers
Animals 2024, 14(2), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020296 - 17 Jan 2024
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Abstract
Animals are under constant threat of parasitic infection. This has influenced the evolution of social behaviour and has strong implications for sexual selection and mate choice. Animals assess the infection status of conspecifics based on various sensory cues, with odours/chemical signals and the [...] Read more.
Animals are under constant threat of parasitic infection. This has influenced the evolution of social behaviour and has strong implications for sexual selection and mate choice. Animals assess the infection status of conspecifics based on various sensory cues, with odours/chemical signals and the olfactory system playing a particularly important role. The detection of chemical cues and subsequent processing of the infection threat that they pose facilitates the expression of disgust, fear, anxiety, and adaptive avoidance behaviours. In this selective review, drawing primarily from rodent studies, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the detection and assessment of infection status and their relations to mate choice are briefly considered. Firstly, we offer a brief overview of the aspects of mate choice that are relevant to pathogen avoidance. Then, we specifically focus on the olfactory detection of and responses to conspecific cues of parasitic infection, followed by a brief overview of the neurobiological systems underlying the elicitation of disgust and the expression of avoidance of the pathogen threat. Throughout, we focus on current findings and provide suggestions for future directions and research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interrelationships between Animal Behaviors and Control of Diseases)
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16 pages, 795 KiB  
Review
Evaluating the Presence of Disgust in Animals
by Trevor I. Case and Richard J. Stevenson
Animals 2024, 14(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020264 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 907
Abstract
The emotion of disgust in humans is widely considered to represent a continuation of the disease-avoidance behavior ubiquitous in animals. The extent to which analogs of human disgust are evident in nonhuman animals, however, remains unclear. The scant research explicitly investigating disgust in [...] Read more.
The emotion of disgust in humans is widely considered to represent a continuation of the disease-avoidance behavior ubiquitous in animals. The extent to which analogs of human disgust are evident in nonhuman animals, however, remains unclear. The scant research explicitly investigating disgust in animals has predominantly focused on great apes and suggests that disgust might be present in a highly muted form. In this review, we outline the main approaches to disgust. We then briefly discuss disease-avoidance behavior in nonhuman animals, proposing a set of criteria against which evidence for the presence or absence of disgust in animals can be evaluated. The resultant decision tree takes into account other plausible causes of avoidance and aversion when evaluating whether it is likely that the behavior represents disgust. We apply this decision tree to evaluate evidence of disgust-like behavior (e.g., avoidance of carrion and avoidance of feces-contaminated food) in several examples, including nonhuman great apes. Finally, we consider the large disparity between disgust in humans compared to muted disgust in other great apes, examining the possibility that heightened disgust in humans is a relatively recent cultural acquisition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interrelationships between Animal Behaviors and Control of Diseases)
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