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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

Pet treats…what to look out for

Posted in Dogs
Pet treats are widely used, and for good reason. Treats can be useful training tools, and pets typically like treats (and owners like to make their pets happy). But even something as simple as feeding pets treats carries some risks (and not just to the pet).  Balancing the risks and benefits is the key. For… Continue Reading

Rat bite fever death

Posted in Reptiles
A recent rat bite fever death in a six-month-old Pennsylvania baby raises several issues that parents need to consider. The child died of meningitis and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) caused by the bacterium Streptobacillus moniliformis. This bacterium is present in the mouths of virtually all rats, and is the cause of rat bite fever.… Continue Reading

Antibiotics in animals: ACVIM consensus statement

Posted in Cats
Every year, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) commissions "consensus statements" on specific topics. They’re developed by an expert panel, put up for review by ACVIM members (board certified veterinary internal medicine specialists), and published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Hot off the (electronic) press is the 2015 ACVIM Consensus Statement… Continue Reading

Cats and peritoneal dialysis

Posted in Cats
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll note the recurring theme of "every animal (and person) is carrying multiple microbes that can harm you, given the right circumstances. Fortunately, the right circumstances don’t usually occur." There are situations in which those risks increase, and understanding cost-benefit is a key aspect of disease prevention. Sometimes pet factors… Continue Reading

Lungworms in Ontario dog

Posted in Dogs
Another emerging infectious disease issue for the Ontario dog population appears to be lungworms. As you’d probably guess, lungworms are parasites that live in (or near) the lungs. A variety of different types of lungworms exist, but most concerns around here relate to two. In Canada, both the fox lungworm (Crenosoma vulpis) and the French… Continue Reading