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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

Rabies Posters & Latest Update

Posted in Rabies, Vaccination
Raccoon-variant rabies cases around the Hamilton area continue to trickle in slowly but steadily each week.  The total number of cases is now up to 187 since December 2015, with 132 cases in raccoons and 53 in skunks.  The remaining two cases were in less common – but not altogether unexpected – species: a fox… Continue Reading

Infectious Disease Risk Management for Canine Group Settings

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
Hot off the presses in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) is a guidance document aimed at reducing infectious disease risks in a variety of canine group settings. The paper, Risk reduction and management strategies to prevent transmission of infectious disease among dogs at dog shows, sporting events, and other canine group settings (Stull et al,… Continue Reading

Equine Arbovirus Update

Posted in Horses, Other diseases
Arboviruses (ARthropod-BOrne viruses) are viruses that are spread by insects, often mosquitoes. As I’ve written about recently, mosquito biology and differences in reservoir species mean that mosquito-borne viruses can have quite different patterns of distribution and spread. As is common, the occurrence of West Nile virus infection in horses tends to ramp up in late… Continue Reading

Raccoon Roundworm Infection

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
The August edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases has an interesting case report of Baylisascaris procyonis infection in a California man (Langelier et al. 2016). Baylisascaris procyonis, commonly known as the raccoon roundworm, is a parasite that is very commonly found in the intestinal tracts of raccoons. Massive numbers of parasite eggs can be found in… Continue Reading

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Season in Full Swing

Posted in Horses, Other diseases, Vaccination
‘Tis the season for mosquitoes, so ‘tis the season for some nasty vector-borne diseases. Few are worse that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a viral infection that causes typically fatal disease in horses, and less commonly other species, including people. Cases tend to start mid-summer and peak late summer to fall, depending on the mosquito dynamics… Continue Reading

Move Over mcr-1. You’re Old News.

Posted in Other animals, Other diseases
Recent identification of mcr-1, a gene that makes bacteria resistant to colistin (an antibiotic of last resort) raised a lot of concern. Now, there’s another one to be worried about, as a related gene, mcr-2 has been identified (Xavier et al, Eurosurveillance, July 2016). In this study, 105 colistin-resistant E. coli from calves and piglets… 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

Raccoon Road Trips and Raccoon Rabies

Posted in Rabies
When raccoon rabies re-emerged in Ontario last fall, one of the big questions was “where did it come from?” It had been eradicated from the province and control measures were in place at the borders to reduce the risk of re-introduction. It was assumed that a rabid raccoon hitched a ride across the border from… 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

Moving Dogs, Moving Bugs

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
I’ve written a lot about the issues of dog importation and the diseases that can sometimes “come along for the ride”. However, high risk movement doesn’t need to be international. Any movement from a high risk area can be a concern. A recent article in Canadian Communicable Disease Report (Curry et al. 2016) addresses the issue of… Continue Reading

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