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White House antibiotic resistance action plan

Posted in Other diseases
The White House has released a "National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria". This follows on the heels of "Executive Order 13676: Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" which was issued by President Barack Obama on September 18, 2014, along with the "National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" presented by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science… Continue Reading

Mad Cow in Alberta

Posted in Other diseases
Last week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, was found in an Alberta beef cow.  BSE belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) that are not caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites, but rather… Continue Reading

Deworming wild and feral animals

Posted in Parasites
I had a question the other day about roundworms in feral cats. Specifically, how do you deworm a group of cats that you don’t handle and may not be able to catch? There are a few possible approaches, from trapping and treating (oral or topical) to trying to get a dewormer into them via food.… Continue Reading

OAHN Podcast on Rabies for Ontario Veterinarians

Posted in Rabies
The new Ontario Animal Health Network, developed as part of the OMAFRA-UofG partnership under the Disease Surveillance Plan (DSP), has produced a number of podcasts on important topics for veterinarians.  These podcasts are great for people on-the-go, as they can be downloaded and played anywhere on a portable device/phone, and they include discussions with experts… Continue Reading

US dog importation and rabies vaccination

Posted in Rabies
I’ve written a lot lately about importation of pets and associated infectious disease issues. A recent paper in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health (Sinclair et al, Dogs entering the United States from rabies-endemic countries, 2011-2012) provides some interesting data on this topic. Dogs entering the US from countries where rabies is present must be… Continue Reading

2013 US rabies recap

Posted in Rabies
It’s that time of year. No, not for snow (although it is snowing here at the moment). It’s time for the annual US rabies surveillance report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Dyer et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2013). The highlights… Over 5800 rabid animals were identified in… Continue Reading

Lyme disease & ticks: New infosheet

Posted in Other diseases
The latest Worms & Germs infosheet, all about Lyme disease and ticks, is now available on the Resources – Pets page.  Although it’s getting colder and occasionally snowy up in Ontario, there are lots of parts of North America where ticks are active all year round.  It’s particularly important for any "snowbirds" who may travel… Continue Reading

Ebola: precautions and paranoia

Posted in Other diseases
Awareness is good. Being proactive is wise. Being paranoid? That’s another story. As this unprecedented Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa continues to expand, many people in North America have journeyed from ignoring it, to considering it a disease that you only get if you’re in Africa, to thinking they need for move to some… Continue Reading

Never a simple story: West Nile in California

Posted in Other diseases
Orange County CA is currently experiencing a major outbreak of West Nile infection in people. Since January 94 cases have been confirmed, three of which were fatal, representing nearly a quarter of the 400 cases reported across the country so far this year. The number of cases of infection with a mosquito-borne virus like West… Continue Reading

More on rabies and roadkill

Posted in Rabies
A reader recently posed a question about the potential risk of rabies virus exposure from running over a rabid animal. I get the "can I get rabies from touching roadkill?" question regularly, but this person had a different concern. “The other day I accidentally plowed right over an already-dead animal in the road. My air… Continue Reading

Raccoon rabies…what is exposure?

Posted in Rabies
A recent report about a rabid raccoon in New Brunswick highlights a few different issues regarding rabies exposure, and the marked differences in application and interpretation of various guidelines. The incident occurred in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, where a family came home "to find their 2 dogs excitedly circling around something in the yard. The… Continue Reading

Rabies myth-busters 101: Cats and bats

Posted in Rabies
Rabies is a very serious disease.  We’re very lucky in Canada that in most parts of the country the prevalence of this disease is now quite low, in large part due to wildlife control and vaccination efforts.  Unfortunately that also seems to make some people quite lax when it comes to (common sense) things like… Continue Reading

Raccoon roundworm reminder

Posted in Parasites
An article by Dr. Ann Britton of British Columbia’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) on the blog site healthywildlife.ca  is another reminder of the perils of raccoon poop. Over a 2 year period, 17 raccoons were submitted to the AHC for necropsy, and 12 (71%) of them were infected with Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. The… Continue Reading

Rabies in upstate New York horse

Posted in Rabies
Rabies in horses is pretty rare but far from unheard of, and each case should be a reminder of the need for proper vaccination. The latest US case was a horse in Newport, New York, but I haven’t yet been able to track down more details. Presumably, human and animal contacts are being investigated, with… Continue Reading

New pig disease arrives in Ontario

Posted in Other diseases
It was only a matter of time, so it’s not particularly surprising, but a potentially devastating pig disease has made its way into Ontario. It’s not a concern to people or other animals, but it’s worth mentioning here anyway (both to say it’s not a public health or non-pig health concern, and since it’s a… Continue Reading

Rabies vaccination for travelers

Posted in Rabies
For an almost invariably fatal disease, people sometimes take a surprisingly lax approach to rabies prevention. Much attention is paid to vaccination of pets (well, not by everyone, but it’s pretty good) – and that’s great, but sometimes people do a better job of vaccinating their dogs than themselves. It’s not because they care about… Continue Reading

The “criticall important antibiotic” debate

Posted in Other diseases
Last week, I mentioned the antibiotic use plenary session at the ASM-ESCMID conference on methicillin-resistant staphylococci in animals. The session was designed to discuss the use of "critically important antibiotics" in companion animals – drugs like carbapenems (imipenem, meropenem) and vancomycin, which are used for treating serious multidrug-resistant infections in people as well. After the… Continue Reading

All about tapeworms and Echinococcus

Posted in Parasites
The latest Worms & Germs infosheets are all about some common and not-so-common members of a particular group of parasites: tapeworms. There are a number of different groups and species of tapeworms that can infect pets, people, and other domestic animals, and sorting through which is which can be tricky, so we created a Tapeworms… Continue Reading

Identifying the “right” parasite control program

Posted in Parasites
Here is another guest blog, this time from the "worm-guy" Dr. Martin Nielsen of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. At the recent 9th International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases (EIDC) in Lexington, Kentucky several sessions were focused on parasite control of horses. Drug resistant parasites are a world-wide problem in… Continue Reading

Dear vet clinic design ‘experts': Pet owners aren’t stupid

Posted in Other diseases
In the latest edition of the American Animal Hospital Association’s Trends magazine, there’s an article about veterinary clinic design. The section dealing with exam rooms says: Discussion is ongoing about whether sinks are needed in the exam room now that hand sanitizers are available. I’m not sure who’s discussing this. Hand sanitizers are great and… Continue Reading

Petting zoo E coli: Wales

Posted in Other diseases
It’s perhaps a good sign for public health when I don’t tend to come home from a local fair and write a rant about the sorry state of the petting zoo. Around here, things seem to have improved at most events over the past few years, probably largely because of the efforts of local public… Continue Reading