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Tiny Turtles, Big Problems

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
The CDC has updated information on the ongoing (if not ever-present) salmonellosis outbreaks linked to pet turtles. At last count, there were 133 illnesses (although it’s likely that this represents a fraction of the people that actually got sick), with 38 of those requiring hospitalization. Forty-one percent (41%) were kids under the age of five, reflecting… Continue Reading

More Turtle-Associated Salmonellosis

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
In what shouldn’t come as a surprise, I guess, another pet turtle-associated multistate outbreak of Salmonella infection in people has been identified in the US. Despite the fact that the sale of small (<4 inch shell length) turtles has been banned in the US for decades, the law is widely ignored, and kids get sick… Continue Reading

Ontario Raccoon Rabies Update

Posted in Rabies
Raccoon rabies continues to be a concern in the Hamilton, Ontario area. After being eradicated in Ontario for years over a decade, raccoon rabies snuck back into the province late last year. Intensive surveillance and baiting efforts by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) continue.  Almost half a million oral rabies vaccine baits… 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

Human Rabies in Missouri

Posted in Rabies
The latest edition of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports describes a case of rabies in a Missouri man. Rabies is rare in people in the US, but it remains an ever-present risk because the virus circulates in various wildlife species. (This case seems to have been from 2014, but they missed some proofreading since… 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

Lungworm in Ontario dogs

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
Another emerging disease we’ve been paying attention to lately is canine lungworm. Lungworm is a generic name for infection caused by one of a few different parasites that live in the respiratory tract. A variety of different lungworms can cause disease in different species, and there tends to be a lot of regional variation. Recently,… 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

More on urban chickens: Part II

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
A reasonable question, expanding on the recent discussion about urban chickens and disease risks, is: why don’t we know how often people get sick from urban chickens? To answer the question, we need to think about how diseases are diagnosed and reported. Let’s say I decide to raise some chickens in my backyard. (Very hypothetical since… Continue Reading

More on urban chickens: Part I

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
Urban chickens continue to be in the news, with debate about instituting (or enforcing) bylaws banning or restricting the raising of chickens in backyards running next to articles on how to raise your own backyard flock. People have various concerns, including: Noise Attracting wildlife, including predators such as coyotes Smell Infectious diseases Animal welfare But,… Continue Reading

Rabies in a horse

Posted in Horses, Rabies, Vaccination
A horse in South Carolina was recently diagnosed with rabies. While rabies is common in some animal species in some regions, it’s a pretty rare disease in horses, so it’s a noteworthy event. This case has a couple of important takeaway messages. Rabies can be sneaky. Rabies (especially in horses and cattle) isn’t always obvious… Continue Reading

Rabies in a calf: Ontario

Posted in Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
In a rather unusual development, a calf in Ellice Ward, Ontario has been diagnosed with rabies. It’s the first case of rabies in any animal species in Perth County since 2012, and looking at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency surveillance records, it’s the first rabid bovine in Ontario since 2011. Rabies has been in the… 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

Imported canine rabies…US

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Rabies is a hot topic around here lately, with the recent identification of raccoon rabies in the province. The virus probably inadvertently arrived in Hamilton via a raccoon hitching a ride across the border. Intentional importation can also lead to introduction of rabies to different areas – I don’t mean intentionally importing rabies (people do… Continue Reading

3 More Rabid Raccoons in Hamilton

Posted in Rabies
As they say, when you look you find. After a sick raccoon in Hamilton had an altercation with two dogs last week and subsequently tested positive for rabies, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) tested an additional 14 raccoons and three skunks that were picked up by Hamilton Animal Services since then.  These… Continue Reading

Rabid Raccoon in Hamilton ON

Posted in Dogs, Rabies
Last week, a sick raccoon in Hamilton, Ontario got into an altercation with two bull mastiffs in the back of an animal services van.  The story quickly hit the media (and social media).  Because the raccoon was not acting normally (and was actually reportedly very aggressive), it was euthanized.  Because it also had direct contact with… Continue Reading

Rabies in a chicken

Posted in Other animals, Rabies
There are very few absolutes with infectious diseases. The minute we think we are sure about something, a new angle becomes apparent. Regarding rabies, we always say that its host range is mammals, but basically only mammals. Maybe not. There have been occasional (poorly corroborated) reports about rabies in birds, but when I first read headlines about this… Continue Reading

New Ontario rabies website

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has launched its new (and long-awaited) rabies website.  The site includes a section for the public which is an ideal resource for clients, and a section for veterinarians with detailed information about reporting, risk assessment, sample submission and testing, and post-exposure management (for companion animals and… Continue Reading

Rabies socks

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
When I  saw “rabies socks“, my first thought was “someone’s going to be cursing their autocorrect“. Apparently not. The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) Rabies Response Program (RRP) World Rabies Day socks (they might want to come up with a shorter name) are on sale now, with a portion of the proceeds going to the… Continue Reading