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Fatal viral infection from a cat?

Posted in Cats
One thing that’s a given with infectious diseases is that there’s always something new to learn. Interestingly, I had a couple enquiries about an obscure virus last week, and was subsequently sent a link to a news report about the same disease. The virus is called severe fever with thrombocytopenia virus which causes…..(take a guess)……severe fever… Continue Reading

Clostridium difficile, hospital visitation and dog risk

Posted in Dogs
A reader has been trying to post a question about an older post on C. difficile in visitation dogs. Here’s the question and my answer: Do the dogs have a risk of getting sick from the C. difficile bacteria?  I understand from the post that they can ingest and shed it in their feces, but the post never… Continue Reading

Echinococcus multilocularis: Alberta, Canada

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
Several news articles have been written lately about the recently-described cases of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in four people in Alberta. The cases of alveolar echinococcosis have occurred over the past 4 years, and raise significant concerns. Echinococcus multilocularis is a small tapeworm but it causes big problems. Why? It’s a potentially nasty parasitic disease that can act a lot… Continue Reading

Psittacosis in a Pet Store Worker

Posted in Birds
Following up on yesterday’s post about a bird-and-fish-associated infection, this next story also involves a pet bird, but with a much worse outcome. It involves a young woman who developed a very serious case of psittacosis linked to her job in a pet store. Psittacosis is a bacterial disease caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, a bacterium… Continue Reading

A Bird, Some Fish and a Near Amputation: Bizarre Headline but an Important Story

Posted in Birds
Why is it that zoonotic disease case reports in the scientific literature sometimes get titles that are…well, let’s just say “creative.” A recent example of a strange headline for an interesting case report is “The Brief Case: A Fishy Tale Prevents Digital Doom following Polly’s Peck—the Importance of Pets in a Comprehensive Medical History” published in… Continue Reading

Dog Bite Near-Death: A Cascade of Missed Opportunities

Posted in Dogs
A few sentences into a Washington Post article entitled “A dog bite sent him to the ER. A cascade of missteps nearly killed him”, I was thinking, “This sounds like a pretty typical Capnocytophaga canimorsus infection. I wonder if this guy lost his spleen earlier in life.” It turns out that was true. Unfortunately, neither… Continue Reading

Lyme disease: The Difference Between Knowing and Actually Doing…

Posted in Dogs, Horses
Guest blog by Dr. Michelle Evason, DVM DipACVIM (as well as current PhD student and coordinator of our Lifetime Lyme Study) In 2014, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) initiated a 3-year marketing campaign (news, advertisements, social media, collaboration with Parks Canada to post signage, etc.) to try to raise the general public’s awareness and… Continue Reading

A Perfect Storm for Canine Flu

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
There were several more reports over the weekend in follow up to the canine influenza outbreak at dog shows in Florida early last week.  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, associated cases were then found in North Carolina, and have now been reported in 11 states, no doubt  from dogs that were at the shows in Florida… Continue Reading

New Methicillin-Resistant Staph Veterinary Dermatology Guidelines

Posted in Cats, Dogs
A new Clinical Consensus Guideline, coordinated through the World Association for Veterinary Dermatology, has been released: Recommendations for approaches to methicillin-resistant staphylococcal infections of small animals: diagnosis, therapeutic considerations and preventative measures. Clinical Consensus Guidelines of the World Association for Veterinary Dermatology This large and comprehensive document is open access and can also be downloaded via… Continue Reading

H3N2 Canine Flu in Florida

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Vaccination
The recent H3N2 canine flu outbreak centred around dog shows in Florida has led to the usual round of questions and concerns. How many dogs have been affected? Hard to say. Cases aren’t carefully tracked and it is reasonable to assume that the majority of dogs that developed influenza (especially mild disease) were never diagnosed.… Continue Reading

New Ontario Lyme Disease Risk Map

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses
To continue the map-posting binge that I’ve been on lately, Public Health Ontario has just posted their updated Lyme Disease Risk Areas map for 2017.  For comparison, you can still also access the 2016 map too, and you can see that the risk areas have indeed expanded somewhat, particularly in Eastern Ontario. The estimated risk… Continue Reading

Tick Tracker Update

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses
Our online Pet Tick Tracker continues to receive lots of submissions, so here are some interesting maps showing some of the preliminary information compiled so far.  The maps show where the ticks are being reported, but remember that they’re not necessarily reflective of the true overall picture, since it depends on who is reporting and who isn’t reporting.… Continue Reading

Rabies in Northern Quebec

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Two rabid dogs have been identified in Whapmagoostui, a Cree community in a remote region of northern Quebec. Rabies is very rare in dogs in Canada, and in recent years, much of the concern has revolved around rabies in dogs from northern communities. Rabies is endemic in Arctic foxes, and dogs can be infected from… Continue Reading

Bandicoots, Sandboxes and Salmonella

Posted in Other animals, Salmonella
A playground in New South Wales, Australia, has been closed because its sandpit was linked to salmonellosis in two children. Sandboxes are a potential source of a few different infectious diseases since they can be used as litterboxes by animals such as cats, raccoons, and apparently, bandicoots. In the Australian incident, two kids were diagnosed… Continue Reading

PetTickTracker Update

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses
Over the years, we’ve tried a variety of new approaches to promote awareness (among the public, veterinarians and others) and to collect relevant research information. Some (like this blog) have taken on a life of their own and exceeded our expectations. Some didn’t go very far. Our most recent initiative is the PetTickTracker, a website designed… Continue Reading

Human Rabies: Virginia

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Every few weeks I get a call or an email about travel-associated rabies exposure concerns. It’s usually from someone traveling to southeast Asia or India who has been bitten by a stray dog. Most of the time, it’s an unvaccinated person and the dog isn’t available for monitoring or testing. Since rabies is endemic in… Continue Reading

Pet Tick Tracker

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses
It’s pretty clear that tick ranges are changing. In Ontario, we’ve seen movement of ticks into areas where they were never seen before, as well as potential changes in the types of ticks that are found in different areas. The potential for tickborne diseases like Lyme disease highlights the importance of understanding tick distributions. Knowing where… Continue Reading

New Guidance for Human Exposure to Rabies: Ontario

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
This month, Public Health Ontario released a new Rabies Guidance Document for Healthcare Providers. It’s nothing particularly new but a good review of the recommended response to rabies exposure from various animal species, something that’s unfortunately often messed up or made more complicated than necessary. It includes some nice flowcharts, such as the one below. The full… Continue Reading

Rodent Importation…Booming Business, Booming Risks?

Posted in Pocket pets
The recent (ongoing) Seoul virus outbreak associated with pet rats and recurrent Salmonella outbreaks linked to feeder rats have focused more attention on the national and international movement of rodents. Most people probably don’t realize the massive number of rodents that are shipped internationally, and we don’t really understand the risks. Anytime animals are moved… Continue Reading

Petting Zoos, Outbreaks and Denial

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
I think petting zoos can be great. I’ve taken my kids to many and think they’re a great way for people to see and interact with animals they would not normally encounter. However, there’s always some risk, and petting zoos range from exceptionally well run to horrible. It seems like there’s been steady improvement over… Continue Reading

Colistin Resistance in Pets

Posted in Cats, Dogs
I’ve had a lot of emails over the past few months from colleagues from other countries, asking if we’re finding much mcr-1 in Canada. mcr-1 is a gene that makes bacteria resistant to colistin, a “drug of last resort” in people with some highly resistant infections.  The gene has emerged in bacteria from both animals… Continue Reading

Immunocompromised People and Their Pets

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles
This month’s edition of the Internal Medicine Journal contains an article entitled High rates of potentially infectious exposures between immunocompromised patients and their companion animals: an unmet need for education (Gurry et al. 2017). The study is fairly superficial and there’s nothing particularly surprising in the paper, with results similar to what has been reported in… Continue Reading