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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

“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

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

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

Worms and Germs Map Update

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Parasites, Rabies
A few years ago, we launched WormsAndGermsMap to help track certain emerging and endemic diseases. Data are entered by participating veterinary clinics, surveillance programs and the WormsAndGerms team. While we certainly can’t capture every case, we do collect some interesting information about the presence of certain diseases. Using the “Report Filter” bar on the left, you can… Continue Reading

Mapping Zoonotic Disease Emergence Risk

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other animals, Other diseases, Pocket pets, Reptiles
Predicting the future is a dodgy proposition at the best of times. It’s particularly hard with infectious diseases, which tend not to behave as expected. Yet, it’s important to plan surveillance, education and response. One approach is to assess where certain types of problems are more likely to develop. That can help direct resources (time,… Continue Reading

New superbug in dogs and cats: mcr-1

Posted in Cats, Dogs
A few years ago, the New Delhi metallobetalactamase-1 (NDM-1) antibiotic resistance gene attracted a lot of attention. This resistance gene can be found in (and passed between) a variety of bacteria, and bacteria possessing this gene are resistant to a wide range of drugs. A drug of last resort for those infections is colistin (a… Continue Reading

Animals in Child Care Facilities: New Guidance

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles
Animals are not uncommonly found in daycares and other childcare settings. Sometimes, it’s good: animals can be entertaining, animal contact can have various benefits to children, and animals can be part of learning activities. Other times, it’s not: such as the presence of species at higher risk for shedding certain pathogens, poor management that increases… Continue Reading

Raw Pet Food and Human Salmonellosis Outbreak

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Salmonella
According to an alert from the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia: The BC Centre for Disease Control is collaborating with BC health authorities, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections in British Columbia likely related to raw pet food. Raw pet food is food served… Continue Reading

Vaccine Apathy

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
Success can breed apathy. Apathy can lead to bad decisions. That’s a common problem with vaccinations. People lose sight of why we vaccinate. Growing up during a time when many major pathogens have been controlled by vaccines, it’s easy to forget about how bad those diseases are. Whether it’s resurgence in measles in people because… Continue Reading

More Canine H3N2 Influenza in Cats

Posted in Cats, Dogs
Perhaps unsurprisingly, canine H3N2 influenza has been found in a group of cats in the US. Canine H3N2 influenza is the strain that emerged in the US last year. It was likely imported (in a dog) from South Korea, and then spread through many parts of the country. As with H3N8 canine flu, we’ve been… Continue Reading

Maybe Your Cat Isn’t Making You Crazy

Posted in Cats, Parasites
Headline writers have had a lot of fun over the past few years writing about toxoplasmosis and potential associations with neurological and behavioural disorders in people. Cats are the main natural host of Toxoplasma gondii, so “crazy cat lady” and other predictable headlines have ensued. But, what is the real risk? The answer is still… 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

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

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

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