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February 3, 1975

Canine Zoonoses

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1975;231(5):497. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240170039019

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Man's major pet, the dog, has been bred as such for several thousand years. However variable the sizes and appearances, the many breeds, including the now wild varieties such as the Australian dingo, all belong to a single species. Perhaps a major factor in the dog's survival in association with man has been his relative immunity to human bacterial, parasitic, and viral diseases.

But the dog is troubled with susceptibility to several diseases of his own, including a severely destructive hepatitis, the virus of which, fortunately, does not infect man. The dog's distemper won't bother his keeper. Yet he does have diseases that he may give to his owner, directly or indirectly. Undoubtedly, most damage is done by his biting a known 600,000 people a year, with minor bites perhaps tripling that figure. Undoubtedly, too, the dog's feral habit of being willing to bite almost any animal (and be bitten