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Pets as sentinels (and maybe saving lives)

Posted in Dogs
“One Health” gets talked about a lot these days, but is acted on much less often. Getting physicians and vets to talk is tough. Getting physicians to query animal contact is variably successful. Some get it and do it well, others don’t. When I speak to human medical or public health groups about zoonotic diseases,… Continue Reading

Greek debt crisis and dog importation

Posted in Dogs
The Greek debt crisis is obviously getting a lot of attention, and now people are trying to link it to increased importation of stray pets. That’s a stretch. Greek dogs have been coming into the country in large numbers for years. Over the past week, I’ve had countless emails about issues with dogs and cats… Continue Reading

Craigslist rabid puppy update

Posted in Dogs, Rabies
The other day, I wrote about an effort to track down adopters of puppies from a litter in the Clay County, Texas, area after one of the puppies was confirmed to be rabid. At last report, 8 of the 9 remaining puppies have been located. Two of these puppies were adopted by one family, with… Continue Reading

Craigslist + Rabid puppy = Bad news

Posted in Dogs, Rabies
There are lots of reasons not to get a puppy from Craigslist. While getting a rabid one isn’t likely, it can happen and result in a lot of trouble. Case and point: A litter of 9 puppies from Henrietta, Texas was recently advertized on Craigslist, and at least one of the adopted puppies had rabies.… Continue Reading

Equine herpes alert…Ottawa

Posted in Horses
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs has issued a Biosecurity Alert (2015-07-09 EHM advisory) in response to an equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy  (EHM) case. This neurological disease, caused by equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) gets a lot of attention now, when 10 years ago it would have largely been dismissed (or at least… Continue Reading

Raw food recall…with a twist

Posted in Cats, Dogs
I don’t usually write about recalls of raw pet foods because… well, finding Salmonella, E. coli or Listeria in raw meat is far from surprising (although certainly concerning). However, the recent recall of Stella & Chewy’s products because of Listeria contamination is noteworthy. Why? Because their food is treated with high pressure pasteurization (HPP). This… Continue Reading

A near fatal dog lick?

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases
I like to write about interesting papers that appear in the medical literature. A problem with that is that it’s often weird cases that get published.  So, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Regardless, reports of rare things still provide some insight, as long as people don’t over-react (which, unfortunately, is often the case).… Continue Reading

Giardia in dogs

Posted in Dogs
The parasite Giardia often raises concern for both dog and human health. In reality, while it’s a potential problem, it’s probably over-rated (or at least there’s a bit too much paranoia at times). A reasonabe percentage of healthy dogs (probably ~7% in Ontario) are shedding the parasite at any given time, but very few will… Continue Reading

More dog travel issues

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Importation issues, Part 1 A Facebook post was forwarded to me the other day. It reads “Drove to the airport today to pick up this lovely little girl [puppy] who flew all the way to Montreal from Baku Azerbaijan. Spent the afternoon with her romping around in Westmount Park. She will be up for adoption… Continue Reading

Equine infectious disease research: Call for Ontario participants

Posted in Horses, Miscellaneous
Are you an Ontario horse owner? University of Guelph researchers now recruiting for new equine project! Horses travel frequently, and the nature and extent of these travel patterns can contribute to the introduction and spread of diseases. The University of Guelph is conducting a study to determine how these movement patterns can influence new disease… Continue Reading

Horses, strangles, streptococcus

Posted in Horses
A paper in the journal BMC Research Notes describes a case of meningitis in a 73-year-old man that was attributed to contact with a horse (Madzar et al 2015). The man was admitted to hospital with fever, headache, neck stiffness, malaise and drowsiness. He was ultimately diagnosed with meningitis caused by Streptococcus zooepidemicus (technically, Streptococcus… Continue Reading

US Turtle Laws

Posted in Reptiles
Turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors. Because of that, various jurisdictions have rules limiting their sale, particularly the sale of small turtles (i.e. those that young kids are more likely to handle and try to put in their mouths). A recent publication from the CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support is a Menu… Continue Reading

Small flocks, urban chickens and bird flu

Posted in Birds
Three poultry flocks in Ontario have been found to be infected with H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  Under the direction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the lead agency when it comes to responding to federally reportable diseases like this, disease control zones have been established around the affected flocks, and movement of… Continue Reading

Do headline writers actually read the articles?

Posted in Dogs
Part I Lyme disease is accompanied by enough paranoia. Bad headlines don’t help. A recent article on The Daily Mail is about Lyme disease and pets. It’s actually not a bad article, outlining some important issues. However, the headline shows a big disconnect between some good content in the article and a complete misunderstanding of… Continue Reading

Probiotics…above all, do no harm?

Posted in Horses
Probiotics are popular treatments for any number of ailments (in animals and people), but marketing, especially on the veterinary side, massively outstrips research. A few years ago, I worked on probiotic development in horses. We found what looked like a good candidate bug, but instead of just trying to sell it, we did a proper… Continue Reading

BC fake service dog crackdown

Posted in Dogs
It’s great to see some places taking service dog fraud seriously. I’ve ranted about this before because I’m a strong believer in the need for service dogs to have full access, and the need to make sure that’s not screwed up by selfish people who don’t actually have a service dog. Too many people are… Continue Reading

Dogs and norovirus

Posted in Dogs
Anyone who’s had norovirus gastroenteritis knows that it’s pretty nasty. It spreads easily from person-to-person, and from (gross, yes, but true) vomit- and diarrhea-contaminated surfaces. The last thing we need is another source of infection to worry about. The potential for dogs to be sources of norovirus has gotten a lot of attention (often misguided)… Continue Reading

More on canine H3N2 flu

Posted in Dogs
Not surprisingly, I’ve been inundated with emails and calls about the H3N2 canine influenza outbreak that’s ongoing in the US. How far will it spread? Who knows? It’s always hard to predict what will happen with influenza viruses. The spread of the H3N8 canine flu virus was surprisingly slow and sporadic, and it has yet… Continue Reading

So…how did Asian H3N2 canine flu get here?

Posted in Dogs
There’s no answer to how Asian H3N2 canine flu arrived in North America, but importation of infected dogs seems likely. There seems to be quite a bit of dog movement from Korea to the US, as highlighted in a couple of articles below. There’s no way to know for sure, but well meaning yet unregulated… Continue Reading

Vet clinics: Dealing with a canine flu outbreak

Posted in Dogs
Infection control in veterinary clinics has come a long way in the past few years. However, there are still many challenges, and new situations like the large H3N2 canine flu outbreak in the US Midwest raise more issues. Just like human hospitals, vet clinics need to be proactive to reduce the risk of flu virus… Continue Reading

Chicago canine flu strain shocker

Posted in Dogs
Cornell University, the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory has indicated that the large, ongoing canine flu outbreak in the midwest US is being caused by an H3N2 influenza strain, not the expected H3N8 canine flu strain. Molecularly, the strain is closely related to H3N2 strains that are circulating in dogs in… Continue Reading

Another dog importation issue

Posted in Dogs
A GoFundMe campaign is underway to pay the vet bills for a sick dog that was imported from Ecuador. The whole story can be found on the site but the quick version is as follows: Someone from the Ottawa area was in Quito and saw a street puppy she liked. On her last day in… Continue Reading

Another human Staph (pseud)intermedius infection

Posted in Dogs
Dr. Stephen Page, regular supplier of good material, sent me a couple papers from the Quarterly Journal of Medicine the other day. One’s an interesting report of ‘Staphylococcus intermedius’ infection in a person, in a case report entitled ‘A canine bug in a human heart’ (Koci et al, Q J Med 2015;108:337-338). It’s almost guaranteed… Continue Reading