Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Animals

Subscribe to Animals RSS Feed

Rabies from a mongoose bite

Posted in Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
Every few days, it seems, I get an email or call that goes something like “I was just bitten by [insert various mammals here]. Do I need to worry about rabies or do anything?” The answer’s pretty similar every time. While the relative risk posed by different animal species in different geographic regions varies, you… Continue Reading

More avian flu in cats…H5N6 in South Korea

Posted in Birds, Cats
Following on the heels of an H7N2 influenza outbreak in cats (and one person) in New York, H5N6 avian influenza has been found in two dead cats in Pocheon, Gyeonggi province, South Korea. This highly pathogenic avian influenza strain has been active in South Korea since November 2016, resulting in the death or euthanasia of… Continue Reading

More on H7H2 influenza in cats (and now a person)

Posted in Cats
A press release by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has provided some interesting new information about the recent H7N2 influenza outbreak in cats. This avian influenza strain is causing an ongoing outbreak in cats in shelters in New York, and human surveillance has been underway. Three-hundred fifty (350) people have been screened… Continue Reading

H7N2 influenza in cats, New York

Posted in Cats
Emerging problem, newly recognized issue or oddball infection? Recent identification of H7N2 in cats at a Manhattan animal shelter has raised recurring concerns about animal health, human health and the movement of influenza viruses. As a quick recap, flu viruses are named (in part) based on the genes coding for two important viral proteins, hemagglutinin and… Continue Reading

Not all bugs must die…subclinical bacteriuria in cats

Posted in Cats
Since we developed the first version of the ISCAID guidelines for diagnosis and management of urinary tract infections in dogs and cats in 2011 (revision currently underway), most discussion about them has probably revolved around our recommendations for animals with subclinical bacteriuria. In this condition, an animal has bacteria in the urine, but no signs of disease.… Continue Reading

Ontario lungworm update

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
The fox lungworm, Crenosoma vulpis, continues to be identified in dogs in Ontario. The attached map from WormsAndGermsMap shows the cases we know about. There aren’t many, but the issue of “rare vs rarely diagnosed” is important. As a relatively new (or newly identified) problem that requires specific testing, it’s easy for it to be… Continue Reading

All you wanted to know about Baylisascaris…the raccoon roundworm

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
The US Geological Service isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think about publishers of zoonotic disease information (but what do I know?). If you’re looking for some holiday reading, the USGS has published a comprehensive overview of Baylisascaris larva migrans, a serious disease caused by Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. This parasite… Continue Reading

Pre-multidrug-resistant TB in a dog

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
A few times a year I get questions about tuberculosis (TB) in dogs, typically after a person is diagnosed with active TB and people want to know what the risks are to, and from, their dog. It’s often tough to answer those questions, because there’s limited information available. Risks exist, but how much of a… Continue Reading

American Family Physician: Enhancing Patient Care Through Time with Animals

Posted in Dogs
Here’s a case scenario in a “Curbside Commentary” from the journal American Family Physician (Mani and Weese, 2016). A 16-year-old girl and her parents presented to my office for her wellness evaluation. The patient has generalized anxiety disorder with comorbid major depression, for which she has been prescribed a serotonergic antidepressant. She is a high school student,… Continue Reading

Brucella canis and rescue programs

Posted in Dogs
A Wisconsin rescue has its dog population under quarantine after a dog that was adopted from the facility was identified as being infected with Brucella canis. Dogs at Gregory’s Gift of Hope are being tested, and any positives will presumably be euthanized. Littermates of the infected dog, which was adopted in 2015, are being traced… Continue Reading

Dog Licks…Again

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
Every year or so, there’s a new wave of publicity/paranoia about the risks associated with dogs licking people. Often, it follows a study of bacteria that can be found in the mouths of dogs. It leads to a combination of balanced reports, sensational reports and defensive responses. What is the concern? Dog’s mouths are vats… Continue Reading

“Kittens Can Cause Death” and Other Overblown Headlines

Posted in Cats
I’ve held off writing about this, but needed to get to it sooner or later. A recent article in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases  (Nelson et al 2016) has spurred a serious of over-exaggerated and sometimes downright comical headlines. “Kittens can cause death; US study” is an Australian example of over-the-top reporting, probably by people who… Continue Reading

Infectious Diseases and Canine Group Settings

Posted in Dogs
The Ohio State University has launched a new website about infectious disease risks in canine group settings. The site includes a comprehensive document on risk and risk reduction strategies (which was just published last month in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association), as well as owner-level fact sheets and a risk calculator to help identify specific risks… Continue Reading

Updated Equine West Nile Virus and EEE Maps

Posted in Horses
The title says it all. Here are the most recent maps from WormsAndGermsMap showing equine cases of West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection. As with any surveillance, the maps only capture a percentage of the true number of cases, but looking at the geographic distribution and trends in date-of-onset can still be informative. West… Continue Reading

The Indoor/Outdoor Cat Debate

Posted in Cats, Salmonella
The latest edition of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery contains an American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) position statement entitled “Impact of lifestyle choice on the companion cat: indoor vs outdoor”. (The document is actually an update of the previous 2007 position statement “Confinement of Owned Indoor Cats“.) It’s an interesting position statement that… Continue Reading

Dog Bite Prevention Education

Posted in Dogs
I spend a lot of time talking about “emerging” infectious diseases. Some of these are truly emerging (i.e. new) diseases, some are conditions we couldn’t diagnose well before but now recognize more easily, and some are disease that have been there all along and are just getting more attention. However, while emerging infectious disease (especially zoonotic… Continue Reading

Infectious Disease Risk Management for Canine Group Settings

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
Hot off the presses in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) is a guidance document aimed at reducing infectious disease risks in a variety of canine group settings. The paper, Risk reduction and management strategies to prevent transmission of infectious disease among dogs at dog shows, sporting events, and other canine group settings (Stull et al,… Continue Reading

Equine Arbovirus Update

Posted in Horses, Other diseases
Arboviruses (ARthropod-BOrne viruses) are viruses that are spread by insects, often mosquitoes. As I’ve written about recently, mosquito biology and differences in reservoir species mean that mosquito-borne viruses can have quite different patterns of distribution and spread. As is common, the occurrence of West Nile virus infection in horses tends to ramp up in late… Continue Reading

Vague Disease Warning in Dogs (and Cats?) in New Jersey

Posted in Cats, Dogs
A vague but potentially interesting report from New Jersey outlines a request for information about pet deaths in the area. The Cumberland County [New Jersey] Health Department is asking for the public’s help in collecting data on reports of what it calls “sudden and unusual illness” among dogs in the county. Perhaps the most interesting and… Continue Reading

Agritourism Infection Prevention

Posted in Other animals
Agritourism is becoming a big industry. As our society gets more urbanized, there’s increasing interest in visiting farms and similar environments. Things like farm visits and petting zoos can be great, especially for kids. They’re also sometimes associated with infectious diseases, most often in kids. Some agritourism events are well run and take a lot of… Continue Reading

Diagnostic Crotch Sniffing?

Posted in Dogs, Miscellaneous
Dogs’ noses are used for a lot of things. Some are conventional (e.g. tracking, search and rescue, drug detection), some are a bit outside of the box (e.g. detection of Clostridium difficile, identifying floating whale poop). A recent paper in Open Forum Infectious Diseases (Maurer et al 2016) takes this to another level by investigating the… Continue Reading

Guinea Worm in Dogs

Posted in Dogs
There are a lot of gross parasitic diseases. A prime example is dracunculiasis, otherwise known as Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis) infection. People get infected by drinking water or eating undercooked fish contaminated with “water fleas” that are infected with Guinea worm larvae. Over a year or so, the worm grows silently in the body, with… Continue Reading

Why Do Zika and Other Mosquito-Borne Viruses Only Occur in Specific Areas?

Posted in Other animals
When I got into vet school, I didn’t imagine that I’d have to know much about mosquito biology. (I probably didn’t really imagine that when I graduated either, to tell the truth). However, as I focused on infectious diseases, it became apparent that understanding certain aspects of inner-workings of mosquitoes (and ticks, and various other… Continue Reading