Back in January 2006 I wrote about sending in a question to the Canadian Quirks & Quarks programme. Somehow I didn’t remember to provide a follow-up until now, even though my question was not only accepted, but answered within a week or two:
Question of the Week: Animal Immunity
This week, Miraz Jordan writes to us all the way from Wellington, New Zealand, where he listens to Quirks on our weekly podcast. His email says: We place a lot of emphasis on washing our hands after using the bathroom and before handling food, so we don’t pass on germs. But my dog and cats have never washed their paws or faces with soap and water — yet they stick their mouths and tongues in all sorts of things and places I don’t want to mention and they don’t keel over. Why not?
For the answer, we to the University of Guelph, where Dr. Jan Hall is an associate professor at the Ontario Veterinary College.
There’s a slight gender mistake in the write-up, but the answer (MP3 file, approx 2.1Mb ) was very interesting. My summary: animals are exposed to a lot more germs than we are and have greater resistance.