Worms & Germs Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus schleiferi in pets

Posted in Cats, Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
When it comes to methicillin-resistant staphylococci in pets, MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus) gets most of the attention. That’s fair since it’s emerging as an important health problem, and can be transmitted between pets and people. Now another staph, MRSP (methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius) is getting more attention, and it’s actually a more common cause of infections… Continue Reading

Stray cat roundup in New Jersey

Posted in Cats, Rabies
In response to recent problems with attacks by stray cats and concerns about rabies exposure, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, is planning to round up all the stray cats they can catch. Cats will be monitored in rented trailers for 60 days, and any cats that do not have signs of rabies will be adopted… Continue Reading

MRSA and vancomycin in dogs

Posted in Cats, Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are an emerging problem in dogs and cats. They’re a huge problem in human medicine, and the emergence of MRSA in pets can be directly traced to the spread of MRSA in people. A big problem with MRSA infections is that they can be difficult to treat because they can be resistant to… Continue Reading

Rabies bait safety

Posted in Dogs, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
Rabies baiting is a common and effective way of controlling rabies in some wildlife populations, particularly skunks, raccoons and foxes. It involves dropping edible rabies vaccine, by airplane or by hand, into targeted areas. Millions of rabies baits are used across North America and baiting programs have been cited as a key aspect of wildlife… Continue Reading

“Horse strep” in people

Posted in Horses
I received the following question the other day: "I have a friend who had chemo embolization on tumor on liver in late June. She is in hospital now, and an abscess was discovered on liver.  Pathology results said "equine strep".  Her brother visited immediately after procedure, and he works with horse full time." Streptococcus is a… Continue Reading

HIV/AIDS, kids and pets

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases, Parasites, Salmonella
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections Among HIV-exposed and HIV-infected Children. A small but still important part of this document involves recommendations for contact with animals. It’s a nice, balanced document that acknowledges the risk but doesn’t make unnecessarily restrictive recommendations. Among… Continue Reading

Expired antibiotics: Time’s up

Posted in Dogs
A recent post that discussed, among other things, expired antibiotics generated a lot of comments. Some accused me of various things and stated their belief that expired drugs are fine and that requiring antibiotics to be prescribed is a global conspiracy. I’ll leave the conspiracy theory alone and just address the issue of expired drugs.… Continue Reading

Raccoon deterrents

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
We’ve written various posts about raccoons, raccoon latrines and concerns about the raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis). I received a question today about how to keep raccoons from coming back after a latrine has been identified and cleaned. It’s a good question, and one without a simple answer.  I’ve looked through various sources and have found… Continue Reading

Antibiotic loopholes and lunacy

Posted in Dogs
People are justifiably concerned about overuse of antibiotics, in both veterinary and human medicine. There’s ample talk about restrictions on use of antibiotics in animals (especially livestock), which is an area that needs good, objective research and discussion. Some politicians have made grand statements about restricting antibiotic use and have proposed strict legislation. (In North America,… Continue Reading

Veterinarian diagnosed with Hendra virus infection

Posted in Horses
A veterinarian, one of four people in Australia that were under close observation due to exposure to a horse with Hendra virus infection, has developed signs of infection.  Dr. Alister Rodgers is now in hospital in critical condition. He had close contact with a sick infected horse three weeks ago – Hendra virus was not… Continue Reading

Tea tree oil in dogs

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases
Skin and soft tissue infections increasingly caused by highly drug-resistant bacteria, along with various concerns about antibiotic use, have led to a desire to find non-antibiotic approaches to treatment of these infections. Tea tree oil has some potent antibacterial properties when tested in the lab, and there are some studies indicating it might be effective… Continue Reading

Raccoon latrines in Chicago

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
If you live in the suburbs of Chicago (or probably many other cities as well), chances are pretty good that you live close to a raccoon latrine. Raccoons like to defecate in specific areas (raccoon latrines) which can become highly contaminated with eggs of Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. Human disease caused by this parasite… Continue Reading

Severe diarrhea outbreak in Florida dogs

Posted in Dogs
Tuttle Animal Medical Center in Florida has reported six dogs with severe bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever, over the past month. The affected dogs were from the same general area in Sarasota County, and all but one died within 24 hours. However, care must be taken when interpreting information such as this. Apparently, most dogs… Continue Reading

Rabid horse in Maryland

Posted in Horses, Rabies, Vaccination
A horse in Harford county Maryland has been euthanized because of rabies. The horse first starting showing signs of disease in mid-July, which manifested as "striking changes in behaviour." The report doesn’t say when the horse died, but animals typically die within a few days of the onset of neurological disease. The horse was transferred… Continue Reading

Internet ying/yang: Artemisinin use and safety

Posted in Cats, Dogs
Yesterday, I received a bulk email ad advertising a book about Chinese herbal medicine in pets.One of the introductory statements said that Chinese medicine is "becoming more popular as people realize the powerful yet gentle ways of TCM healing." On the same day, I received a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports article entitled "Hepatitis temporally associated with… Continue Reading

Comparing dog and cat bites

Posted in Cats, Dogs
Animal bites are very common. Millions of people are bitten every year, and the resulting burden in terms of pain, infection and financial costs is astounding. Dog bites get the most press because they often cause significant trauma. Dogs have larger and stronger mouths, and can bite repeatedly and more aggressively in some attacks. Deaths… Continue Reading

Do not feed the bears

Posted in Other animals
A 74-year-old Colorado woman that had been warned repeatedly not to feed bears was killed by one. The circumstances surrounding the attack are not known, but there was clear evidence of mauling. Wildlife officers had received numerous complaints for at least a decade that the woman was habitually feeding bears.  She was warned several times… Continue Reading

It’s back: Hendra virus in Australia

Posted in Horses
Hendra virus, a virus that can kill horses and people, has resurfaced in Queensland, Australia. This bat-borne disease has caused periodic fatalities in horses and people that work with horses. The latest outbreak is thought to have killed up to three horses and resulted in the potential exposure of at least 30 people. The likelihood of… Continue Reading

Attention Sears shoppers… Avoid rabid kittens!

Posted in Cats, Rabies
State public health officials are trying to get the word out about a potential rabies exposure in Annapolis, Maryland.  A rabid kitten was discovered outside a Sears store at the Westfield Annapolis shopper center. The concern is that people may have handled the kitten and been exposed. It’s a major concern with kittens because they can… Continue Reading

Plague in a Colorado cat

Posted in Cats
A house cat in the Eagle, Colorado area has been diagnosed with pneumonic plague. Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is a disease that still strikes fear into people. While we are long since removed from the period where the "black death" killed a large percentage of the population in Europe, plague still has… Continue Reading

G-force and zoonotic disease

Posted in Pocket pets, Salmonella
It seems like whenever a hit TV show or movie features an animal, there’s concern about the "101 Dalmatians effect," whereby there’s a mad rush to get the animal for a pet. When 101 Dalmatians was a hit movie, there was a huge spike in sales of this rather unusual breed – a breed which… Continue Reading

Listeriosis in a dog from recalled meat?

Posted in Dogs
A Windsor, Ontario woman is convinced that her dog acquired listeriosis afetr eating recalled hot dogs.  Last week, Maple Leaf Foods recalled various hot dog products because of low-level contamination with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, the cause of listeriosis. Her dog Tigger was fed four hot dogs one evening, and the next morning starting vomiting.… Continue Reading