Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: wildlife

More Ontario Echinococcus multilocularis cases

Posted in Dogs
This tiny parasite continues to cause a stir around Ontario. While infections are (apparently) still rare, it’s becoming clear that this nasty worm has somehow stealthily established itself in the province. That presumably means it’s either also in neighbouring provinces and states, or heading there. Echinococcus multilocularis is a small tapeworm that can cause severe disease. Canids… 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

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

Skunk + late vaccine + inflexibility = dead dog

Posted in Dogs
A Brockton, MA dog was euthanized after being bitten by a rabid skunk, because of a combination of the skunk’s rabies diagnosis, a relatively minor lapse in the dog’s vaccinations, and regulatory inflexibility. The ten-year-old Schnauzer cross was bitten in its own yard, and the skunk was subsequently caught, tested and diagnosed as rabid. Clearly,… Continue Reading

Plague from dog

Posted in Dogs
Plague… it’s a term that typically conjures up images of the devastating "Black Death", the pandemic that killed 75-200 million people in Europe back in the 14th century. Yet, it’s not just a historical disease. Plague is still present in a variety of small mammals in different regions worldwide (see map), including parts of the… 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

Boo Boo gets pardoned, but so much for stress relief

Posted in Other animals
Let’s put this one in the "smart people doing stupid things" file. Some well-intentioned people at Washington University in St. Louis thought they’d help relieve stress during exam time by bringing in a petting zoo – that unfortunately included "Boo Boo" the biting bear. As you can likely guess, problems ensued. 18 students sustained skin-breaking… 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

From the archives…Why should I vaccinate Fluffy, he’s an indoor cat? (aka Why I’m glad I vaccinated Finnegan, my indoor cat)

Posted in Cats
Over the past few years, I’ve written a lot of posts on this blog. Hopefully the odd one’s been interesting and/or informative, and in the spirit of recycling (not laziness!) I’m going to re-post some that I thought were memorable or of particular interest. The first one is actually the second post ever on this site… Continue Reading

Maybe I should buy a hat

Posted in Other animals
These days, there’s more and more doom-and-gloom information about multidrug-resistant bacteria. They’re in our hospitals, medical tourists, people on the street, our pets, our food, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of. We can now add crow poop to the list too. It’s almost to be expected, really. We know that birds can… Continue Reading

2012 US rabies recap

Posted in Dogs
It’s that time of year again… time for the US annual rabies surveillance report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Dyer et al 2013). Some highlights: There were 6162 cases of rabies diagnosed in animals in 2012. (This is a 2.1% increase from 2011, but I don’t put much stock into changes… Continue Reading

Irony…bad luck…rabies-magnet…pick your terminology

Posted in Dogs
The word "ironic” gets used a lot, often incorrectly. Alanis Morrissette’s hit song “Ironic” is a great example of this since she (ironically?) describes situations that aren’t really ironic, they just suck (i.e. winning the lottery and dying the next day isn’t ironic, it’s just bad luck). Anyway, irony doesn’t have much to do with… Continue Reading

US Rabies update

Posted in Dogs
ProMed-mail usually posts a monthly recap of rabies cases in the US. The most recent one (like most of them) doesn’t have anything too astounding, but it provides some good reminders. Skunk attacks baby A five-month-old baby that was outside in a car seat was bitten in the face several times by a skunk. The… Continue Reading

Why Finnegan’s an indoor cat

Posted in Cats
I grew up with cats, and they were all indoor/outdoor. I never really thought about it since that was just the way things were done. Yet, as much as he’d like to convince us otherwise, our current cat Finnegan is an indoor cat. There are a lot of reasons for this. One reason for keeping… Continue Reading

Songbird Salmonella in Sonoma

Posted in Cats
This story’s a couple of weeks old, but Sonoma County (California) residents have been warned about an outbreak of salmonellosis in songbirds. Outbreaks of salmonellosis occur occasionally in songbirds such as finches, and can result is lots of sick and dead birds. There are also risks to other species, including cats and people. Why cats?… Continue Reading

MRSP in urban rats

Posted in Other animals
A year or two ago, I received an email from Dr. Chelsea Himsworth, who was doing some interesting work looking at different bacteria found in rats in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This is an impoverished urban neighbourhood with lots of homeless people, IV drug users and HIV-infected individuals… and lots of rats. Dr. Himsworth, a veterinary pathologist working… Continue Reading

Boy Scouts not so prepared this time

Posted in Other animals
Earlier this year, a troop of Boy Scouts in the US beat off a rabid beaver that was attacking their leader (I wonder if there’s a badge for that). Boy Scouts and infectious diseases are in the news again, but not with as happy a story. In the recent incident reported on ProMED, ten Boy… Continue Reading

Another rabid beaver

Posted in Other animals
I don’t know whether it’s because a) there are more rabid beavers these days, b) rabid beavers have always been around in these numbers but they have recently acquired a taste for human flesh, or c) it’s just a fluke, but another rabid beaver was recently reported in the US. The latest incident involved a beaver… Continue Reading

Echinococcus in Canada

Posted in Dogs
If you ask people about tapeworms, they typically think about the "ick" factor of having a  large worm in their gut, but they probably don’t get too concerned. However, some types of tapeworm infection can be serious health problems in humans and animals. One of the worst is infection by the tapeworm species Echinococcus multilocularis.… Continue Reading

Plague from pet cat

Posted in Cats
Plague cases tend to get a lot of press. The fact that this disease killed a large percentage of the human population in a few different pandemics (albeit centuries ago for the most part) probably plays a role in that. Despite the impression by some that it’s just a historical disease, plague is alive and… Continue Reading

Raccoon distemper warnings

Posted in Dogs
There have been various news reports from different parts of North America describing distemper outbreak in raccoons. Distemper is a viral infection caused by canine distemper virus, which is related to the human measles virus (but the canine version can’t infect people). A variety of animal species in addition to dogs can get distemper, most… Continue Reading

Latest round of rabies news

Posted in Cats
ProMed’s latest accumulation of rabies reports has the typical mix of domestic animal and wildlife rabies cases, and some recurring themes. Fox / dog / human, North Carolina In this case, a rabid fox had a "direct encounter" with several people, then it was killed by a dog. Three people have started post-exposure treatment. The… Continue Reading