Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Animals

Subscribe to Animals RSS Feed

Zika virus and animals

Posted in Other animals
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Zika virus and animals. It’s great to see that people are thinking more broadly about infectious diseases (but it isn’t doing much for my productivity this week). To recap, Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus related to West Nile virus and dengue virus. Most people that are… Continue Reading

10 More Rabid Raccoons in Hamilton

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Rabies
It seems to be a bit of a slow month for zoonoses.  Finally getting some cold weather here in Ontario certainly helps keep many bugs at bay (and people indoors).  Nonetheless, rabies continues to keep us hopping.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is continuing with its surveillance efforts around the cluster of… Continue Reading

More on urban chickens: Part II

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
A reasonable question, expanding on the recent discussion about urban chickens and disease risks, is: why don’t we know how often people get sick from urban chickens? To answer the question, we need to think about how diseases are diagnosed and reported. Let’s say I decide to raise some chickens in my backyard. (Very hypothetical since… Continue Reading

More on urban chickens: Part I

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
Urban chickens continue to be in the news, with debate about instituting (or enforcing) bylaws banning or restricting the raising of chickens in backyards running next to articles on how to raise your own backyard flock. People have various concerns, including: Noise Attracting wildlife, including predators such as coyotes Smell Infectious diseases Animal welfare But,… Continue Reading

Rabies in a horse

Posted in Horses, Rabies, Vaccination
A horse in South Carolina was recently diagnosed with rabies. While rabies is common in some animal species in some regions, it’s a pretty rare disease in horses, so it’s a noteworthy event. This case has a couple of important takeaway messages. Rabies can be sneaky. Rabies (especially in horses and cattle) isn’t always obvious… Continue Reading

Rabies in a calf: Ontario

Posted in Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
In a rather unusual development, a calf in Ellice Ward, Ontario has been diagnosed with rabies. It’s the first case of rabies in any animal species in Perth County since 2012, and looking at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency surveillance records, it’s the first rabid bovine in Ontario since 2011. Rabies has been in the… Continue Reading

Rabies baits and feral cats

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
The incursion of raccoon rabies in the Hamilton ON area reached a total of 10 confirmed cases as of last week.  A map of the current MNRF control zone is available on the OMAFRA website.  This is the area where the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has spread oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits… Continue Reading

Imported canine rabies…US

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Rabies is a hot topic around here lately, with the recent identification of raccoon rabies in the province. The virus probably inadvertently arrived in Hamilton via a raccoon hitching a ride across the border. Intentional importation can also lead to introduction of rabies to different areas – I don’t mean intentionally importing rabies (people do… Continue Reading

Rabid Raccoon in Hamilton ON

Posted in Dogs, Rabies
Last week, a sick raccoon in Hamilton, Ontario got into an altercation with two bull mastiffs in the back of an animal services van.  The story quickly hit the media (and social media).  Because the raccoon was not acting normally (and was actually reportedly very aggressive), it was euthanized.  Because it also had direct contact with… Continue Reading

Rabies in a chicken

Posted in Other animals, Rabies
There are very few absolutes with infectious diseases. The minute we think we are sure about something, a new angle becomes apparent. Regarding rabies, we always say that its host range is mammals, but basically only mammals. Maybe not. There have been occasional (poorly corroborated) reports about rabies in birds, but when I first read headlines about this… Continue Reading

Personal pet visitation in a Hamilton hospital

Posted in Cats, Dogs
I’ve had a lot of emails about some news reports describing a program at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton (Ontario) that allows personal pets to visit. Zachary’s Paws for Healing is touted as the first of its kind in Canada (which is far from true, but perhaps it’s the most formal). Animals in healthcare facilities are… Continue Reading

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Miscellaneous, Other animals
Since their discovery in the mid-1900s (which really wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things), antibiotics have revolutionized human medicine, veterinary medicine and even food production.  They save lives and prevent illness, helping to make both people and animals healthier, happier and more efficient at what they do.  But if we want… Continue Reading

Leptospirosis vaccination risks

Posted in Dogs, Vaccination
Vaccination discussions can get pretty heated. It’s not as bad with animals as with humans (thanks in part to the discredited (and formerly Dr.) Andrew Wakefield). Yet, there is still a reasonable number of people who are opposed to vaccination of pets, and probably a bigger number who are wary. There are various reasons for… Continue Reading

Equine anaplasmosis: Ontario

Posted in Horses
Another Ontario issue to report: this one is in a horse. Recently, a case of anaplasmosis was identified in a horse in Eastern Ontario. People in some places may say “so what?” The reason it’s noteworthy is that anaplasmosis has historically been a very rare disease in Ontario. It’s a infection caused by the bacterium Anaplasma… Continue Reading

Ontario canine respiratory disease update

Posted in Dogs
Disease status Things seem to be slowing down. Whether that’s because of a true decrease in disease or “reporting fatigue” is a good question. However, I’m pretty certain that the outbreak is burning itself out in the areas that were most affected. Sporadic reports of sick dogs are still coming in from a few areas, but… Continue Reading

Ontario canine respiratory disease update

Posted in Dogs
Here’s a quick update about what we know… which really isn’t a lot more than yesterday. Case reports continue to roll in from different areas. I suspect the outbreak is burning itself out in Orangeville, but a few new cases are still being reported there. A few other clusters seem to be ongoing in different towns such… Continue Reading

Canine respiratory disease outbreak update

Posted in Dogs
As I’ve written about a couple times over the past few days, we seem to have increased canine respiratory disease activity in a few areas of Ontario. The first reports came from Orangeville (incidentally, the town where I worked as a veterinarian in general practice when I first graduated), based on information provided by an astute… Continue Reading

Canine respiratory disease precautions

Posted in Dogs, Vaccination
If you’re one of the many (many) people asking about what to do in the midst of a canine respiratory disease outbreak, or someone who just wants to know what to do to reduce everyday risk of CIRDC, here are some basic pointers: The microbes that cause respiratory disease in dogs are primarily spread by… Continue Reading

Increased canine infectious respiratory disease: Ontario

Posted in Dogs
Infectious respiratory disease isn’t exactly rare in dogs. A variety of viruses, bacteria and Mycoplasma can cause what we generically call canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC, formerly and still commonly called “kennel cough”). We see clusters of disease periodically and hear rumours of larger outbreaks, but usually there’s not a lot of additional information… Continue Reading

Oddball infections or concerns?

Posted in Cats, Dogs
Anytime you see a case report in the medical literature, you know it must be something rare or new. Otherwise, no one would publish the occurrence of a single case. That can skew people’s perceptions because weird things get more attention. So, it’s always hard to say what we should think about one-off reports of… Continue Reading

Tick ID card

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses
Knowing your ticks is important. Certain ticks are able to transmit certain diseases, so knowing what to look for, on yourself and your animals, is useful. To help with that, Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health has released a quick-reference Tick ID Card.  When folded in half, it’s about the size of a business card, so… Continue Reading

Ontario eastern equine encephalitis update

Posted in Horses
During today’s Canadian Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance call, Dr. Alison Moore from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs gave an update on equine infectious neurological disease cases in the province. Prominent amongst those disease is eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). This very mosquito-borne viral infection is fortunately pretty rare in horses and is… Continue Reading

Equine infectious disease podcasts

Posted in Horses
This summer, we started a monthly Canadian Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance teleconference series to provide quick periodic updates on various infectious disease issues and outbreaks to/from provincial, territorial and federal regulatory animal health officials, academia, practicing veterinarians and industry partners. Recordings of some of the calls are now available on the Equine Canada website.  … Continue Reading