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Rabies from a mongoose bite

Posted in Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
Every few days, it seems, I get an email or call that goes something like “I was just bitten by [insert various mammals here]. Do I need to worry about rabies or do anything?” The answer’s pretty similar every time. While the relative risk posed by different animal species in different geographic regions varies, you… Continue Reading

Backyard poultry…knowledge, attitudes and practices

Posted in Salmonella
The backyard poultry debate continues in many areas. It raised is head again in Guelph recently, with more city government debate about how far you have to keep your backyard chickens from your neighbours. There are a number of issues to consider, like potential for spread of zoonotic bacteria (e.g. Salmonella), avian flu, noise, smell… Continue Reading

Bats, rabies and a hospital NICU

Posted in Rabies
When a bat is found in a household, the response can be quite variable.  Many public health units may consider it a potential rabies exposure if the bat was in the house overnight, on the assumption that a bite could have occurred without being noticed (I have personal experience with that).  Based on the large… Continue Reading

Raccoon Rabies – 1 Year Later

Posted in Rabies
It has been just over 1 year since the discovery of the first rabid raccoon in Ontario in over a decade, and the first rabid wildlife in the Hamilton area in over two decades.  Since then well over 4500 abnormal or “found dead” wildlife have been tested, and 253 animals carrying raccoon-variant rabies have been… Continue Reading

Ontario lungworm update

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
The fox lungworm, Crenosoma vulpis, continues to be identified in dogs in Ontario. The attached map from WormsAndGermsMap shows the cases we know about. There aren’t many, but the issue of “rare vs rarely diagnosed” is important. As a relatively new (or newly identified) problem that requires specific testing, it’s easy for it to be… Continue Reading

All you wanted to know about Baylisascaris…the raccoon roundworm

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
The US Geological Service isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think about publishers of zoonotic disease information (but what do I know?). If you’re looking for some holiday reading, the USGS has published a comprehensive overview of Baylisascaris larva migrans, a serious disease caused by Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. This parasite… Continue Reading

Pre-multidrug-resistant TB in a dog

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
A few times a year I get questions about tuberculosis (TB) in dogs, typically after a person is diagnosed with active TB and people want to know what the risks are to, and from, their dog. It’s often tough to answer those questions, because there’s limited information available. Risks exist, but how much of a… Continue Reading

Dog Licks…Again

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
Every year or so, there’s a new wave of publicity/paranoia about the risks associated with dogs licking people. Often, it follows a study of bacteria that can be found in the mouths of dogs. It leads to a combination of balanced reports, sensational reports and defensive responses. What is the concern? Dog’s mouths are vats… 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

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