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Dog-bites, rabies and One Health: Towards improved coordination in research, policy and practice

By Melanie J. Rock, Dawn Rault, Chris Degeling

Category Journal Articles

Dog-bites and rabies are neglected problems worldwide, notwithstanding recent efforts to raise awareness and to consolidate preventive action. As problems, dog-bites and rabies are entangled with one another, and both align with the concept of One Health. This concept emphasizes interdependence between humans and non-human species in complex socio-ecological systems. Despite intuitive appeal, One Health applications and critiques remain under-developed with respect to social science and social justice. In this article, we report on an ethnographic case-study of policies on dog bites and rabies, with a focus on Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is widely recognized as a leader in animal-control policies. The fieldwork took place between 2013 and 2016. Our analysis suggests that current policies on rabies prevention may come at the expense of a 'bigger picture' for One Health. In that 'bigger picture,' support is needed to enhance coordination between animal-control and public-health policies. Such coordination has direct relevance for the well-being of children, not least Indigenous children.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2017
Publication Title Social Science & Medicine
Volume 187
Pages 126-133
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.06.036
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Bites and stings
  5. Dogs
  6. Mammals
  7. One Health
  8. open access
  9. Pets and companion animals
  10. Rabies
  1. open access