Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Animals

Subscribe to Animals RSS Feed

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

Fatal Horse-Associated Streptococcus zooepidemicus Infection

Posted in Horses
A recent report in MMWR describes a pair of Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus infections in people.  The cases are noteworthy because this bacterium doesn’t often cause human infections, and because one of the infected people died. More commonly referred to simply as Strep zoo, this bacterium is very commonly found in perfectly healthy horses, although… Continue Reading

Raccoon Roundworm Infection

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
The August edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases has an interesting case report of Baylisascaris procyonis infection in a California man (Langelier et al. 2016). Baylisascaris procyonis, commonly known as the raccoon roundworm, is a parasite that is very commonly found in the intestinal tracts of raccoons. Massive numbers of parasite eggs can be found in… Continue Reading

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Season in Full Swing

Posted in Horses, Other diseases, Vaccination
‘Tis the season for mosquitoes, so ‘tis the season for some nasty vector-borne diseases. Few are worse that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a viral infection that causes typically fatal disease in horses, and less commonly other species, including people. Cases tend to start mid-summer and peak late summer to fall, depending on the mosquito dynamics… Continue Reading

Move Over mcr-1. You’re Old News.

Posted in Other animals, Other diseases
Recent identification of mcr-1, a gene that makes bacteria resistant to colistin (an antibiotic of last resort) raised a lot of concern. Now, there’s another one to be worried about, as a related gene, mcr-2 has been identified (Xavier et al, Eurosurveillance, July 2016). In this study, 105 colistin-resistant E. coli from calves and piglets… Continue Reading

Capnocytophaga Back in the News

Posted in Dogs
Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a bit of an obscure bacterium. When I talk about it to veterinary or physician audiences, I’m usually met with blank stares – not surprising, since it’s not really mentioned in veterinary or medical school, from what I can tell. It’s a rare cause of infection, but a nasty one. The fact that it’s… Continue Reading