Through the Mad Dog Initiative (MDI), we are working to understand the role that dogs and their diseases play in the Malagasy ecosystem. Globally, feral dogs spread a number of diseases of public health concerns to humans. Similarly, their growing numbers have been found to negatively impact wildlife populations, but less is known about the overall ecohealth impact that these feral dog populations have.
Through a combination of dog, wildlife, and human sampling we aim to understand the
transmission dynamics of dog diseases and the breadth of their impact in this complex system. In addition to our field studies, we also conduct laboratory experiments on canine dirofilariasis that we hope can be used to improve intervention strategies to minimize zoonotic dirofilarisis in Madagascar and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to use the MDI program as a One Health intervention to implement on-the-ground solutions into our mobile clinics that can simultaneously improve dog welfare and human and wildlife health.