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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

Seoul Virus in Ontario

Posted in Pocket pets
It’s not particularly surprising, I guess, but a few cases of Seoul virus infection have been identified in Ontario residents who breed or have contact with rats.  Fortunately, like most infections with this type of hantavirus, disease was mild. Equally not surprising is that infected rats have been found in Ontario rat-breeding facilities.  The Ministry… Continue Reading

Flesh Eating Disease With a Pony Link

Posted in Horses
The bacterium Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (often simply called Streptococcus zooepidemicus) is one that I think I understand less and less, including the risks this predominantly equine-associated bug poses to humans. It’s a well-known and common bacterium in horses, both healthy and sick, and can also be found in dogs and cats (where it can… Continue Reading

Canine and Feline Respiratory Infection Treatment Guidelines

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases
The latest set of clinical treatment guidelines from the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases have been published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Lappin et al 2017): Antimicrobial Use Guidelines for Treatment of Respiratory Tract Disease in Dogs and Cats: Antimicrobial Guidelines Working Group of the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious… Continue Reading

Rabies and Bite Responses

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
There tends to be confusion about what happens when an animal bites or is bitten, and rabies is being considered. Most of the confusion revolves around how long an animal is quarantined or observed. Yet, it’s actually pretty straightforward if you think about why quarantine/observation is being performed and some basics about the virus and… Continue Reading

2016 Rabies Compendium

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
The 2016 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control has been released by the US’s National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV). This version has updates in a few different areas, such as some changes to recommendations for dogs, cats and ferrets that have potentially been exposed to rabies. It can be downloaded directly here or be found… Continue Reading

Is MRSP zoonotic?

Posted in Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
I’ve written about this many times (probably because I get asked about it almost every day), but there’s not really a simple answer to the question “Does methicillin-resistant Staph. pseudintermedius pose a human health risk?” My typical answer is along the lines of “Yes, but…” with discussion about how rare Staph pseudintermedius (SP) infections are in… Continue Reading

Seoul Virus in Pet Rats

Posted in Pocket pets
Another day, another new zoonotic disease concern. Well, it’s not really that bad, but the list of new (or at least newly identified) zoonotic disease issues continues to expand at an impressive rate. One of the latest concerns is a cluster of Seoul virus infections linked to rats. At last report, 8 infections with Seoul… Continue Reading

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