How Animals Fight Infections? – The Immune System of Animals

People fight infections in a way which is often observed by our parents as, oh god, you have a fever, drink some medicine to lower it. This is the first of many misconceptions about our immune systems. Virus and bacteria cells cannot replicate at high temperatures. Our bodies raise our temperatures in order to fight an infection. The problem with this is that our own cells cannot replicate at high temperatures, which is why we feel terrible. We developed various medicines to help us combat a plethora of diseases, so that leaves many people wondering, what do animals do when they get sick? Here is a brief look at how animals deal with illnesses and infections.


Young salmon often tended to die because their immune systems couldn’t handle the sea lice they were exposed to.

Luckily for them, a sort of cleaner fish found their way to the salmon and they formed a symbiotic relationship. The cleaner fish ate the lice and had a great meal while the salmon enjoyed a clean and healthy life.

Through symbiosis, many species have found ways of surviving and becoming even stronger.


This is one of the most common ways of dealing with an infection. Someone with an infection which is contagious is often put in quarantine and separated from the rest of the healthy individuals. Humans which come in contact with the infected wear protective gear which is supposed to keep them safe from infections.

Red ants have a very similar way of dealing with infections. Dead ants are quickly removed from colonies and disposed of. Scientists didn’t know why until they obstructed several colonies from disposing of their dead. The colonies found a different way to survive. Dead ants are a liability, and they can become infectious and endanger a colony. The obstructed ants carried the corpses into a lone cavern and other ants didn’t go near that cavern unless absolutely necessary. They also used what they can find in their limited environment to plug the cavern so that other ants literally do not go there.


Grooming has been a large part of a lot of animals’ way of staying clean. Grooming is used to get rid of pesky bugs and other small parts which can get stuck in an animal’s fur. Some animals have shown signs of grooming even when they are completely clean. This is a sign of prevention, rather than treatment, which is always great.

Animals fight diseases the same way humans do, but without the medicine. We can probably learn a lot by observing animals, as observation is one of the best ways of learning.