Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Miscellaneous

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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

Diagnostic Crotch Sniffing?

Posted in Dogs, Miscellaneous
Dogs’ noses are used for a lot of things. Some are conventional (e.g. tracking, search and rescue, drug detection), some are a bit outside of the box (e.g. detection of Clostridium difficile, identifying floating whale poop). A recent paper in Open Forum Infectious Diseases (Maurer et al 2016) takes this to another level by investigating the… 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

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

Canine flu strikes again – Illinois

Posted in Dogs, Vaccination
Canine influenza has once again reared its ugly head in fairly spectacular fashion, this time in Bloomington, IL.  Apparently there have been numerous laboratory-confirmed cases, and also many suspected cases, and likely still more cases that have gone completely unreported.  It’s estimated that “hundreds” of dogs may have been affected already – it’s very difficult… 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

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

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

Leptospirosis vaccination risks

Posted in Dogs, Vaccination
Vaccination discussions can get pretty heated. It’s not as bad with animals as with humans (thanks in part to the discredited (and formerly Dr.) Andrew Wakefield). Yet, there is still a reasonable number of people who are opposed to vaccination of pets, and probably a bigger number who are wary. There are various reasons for… Continue Reading

Canine respiratory disease precautions

Posted in Dogs, Vaccination
If you’re one of the many (many) people asking about what to do in the midst of a canine respiratory disease outbreak, or someone who just wants to know what to do to reduce everyday risk of CIRDC, here are some basic pointers: The microbes that cause respiratory disease in dogs are primarily spread by… 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

New USEF equine vaccination requirements

Posted in Horses, Vaccination
Mandatory vaccination for horses entering shows, other events and sales has been a surprisingly contentious issue for years. Some groups have required equine influenza vaccination for a long time, and it’s an accepted measure. Attempts to mandate vaccination for some other groups or events have often been met with resistance, even when those attempts were… Continue Reading

West Nile virus in Ontario

Posted in Horses, Vaccination
The season has arrived. Right on schedule, the first case of West Nile virus (WNV)  infection in an Ontario horse has been identified, prompting an advisory from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The affected horse was from Sudbury, Ontario, and was euthanized because of progressive and severe neurological disease. It… Continue Reading

More dog travel issues

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Importation issues, Part 1 A Facebook post was forwarded to me the other day. It reads “Drove to the airport today to pick up this lovely little girl [puppy] who flew all the way to Montreal from Baku Azerbaijan. Spent the afternoon with her romping around in Westmount Park. She will be up for adoption… Continue Reading

Equine infectious disease research: Call for Ontario participants

Posted in Horses, Miscellaneous
Are you an Ontario horse owner? University of Guelph researchers now recruiting for new equine project! Horses travel frequently, and the nature and extent of these travel patterns can contribute to the introduction and spread of diseases. The University of Guelph is conducting a study to determine how these movement patterns can influence new disease… Continue Reading

Hand Hygiene for Vets and Vet Students

Posted in Miscellaneous
Hand hygiene is an incredibly basic every-day infection control measure, and one of the most important means of preventing the spread of infectious pathogens.  Hand hygiene should be used at home, at work, and especially in healthcare environments where there may be more bugs and more susceptible individuals.  That includes veterinary clinics.  Also keep in… Continue Reading

Are we too clean?

Posted in Miscellaneous
A recent episode of the popular TVO current affairs show "The Agenda with Steve Paikin" explores the topic of “Our Relationship with Cleanliness" – an informative, yet fun look at the topic of germs. Panelists (including yours truly) take a cultural, historical, psychological and sociological look at the microorganisms on us and around us –… Continue Reading