Medical and veterinary zoology is a branch of zoology that studies the role of animals in diseases. Unicellular organisms (protozoans), parasitic worms, insects, ticks, mites and spiders, as well as hosts for these (mammals and birds), often play an important role in diseases of man, livestock, wild animals, and pets and in diseases transmitted from animals to man (zoonoses). For example, malaria is transmitted from man to man, rabies from animals to man and redwater from animals via ticks to other animals. The study and control of parasites and disease-carrying animals is consequently of great importance in agriculture, veterinary science and medicine.
Medical and veterinary zoologists find employment with National and Provincial conservation agencies, universities, agriculture, medical research institutes (e.g. South African Institute for Medical Research), veterinary research institutes, and medical schools.