Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Birds

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Bird bugs, horse abortions and sick vet students

Posted in Birds, Horses
When I talk about infection control (or infectious diseases, in general), I emphasize the need to avoid tunnel vision. Sometimes, we run into situations where someone says “that animal tested negative for [name your bug], so we don’t have anything to worry about.” Well, no. It means you (probably) don’t have to worry about that… Continue Reading

More emotional support animal ranting

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Reptiles
I’ve written (ok… ranted) about fake service and support animals for years. Beyond frustration with the self-centred and/or “look at me!” aspects, my main concern with the proliferation of fake service animals and questionable emotional support animals is the potential negative impacts on the “real” service and support animals, and the people who actually need… Continue Reading

Fossil fuels and antibiotics: An analogy

Posted in Animals, Birds, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other animals, Other diseases, Pocket pets
The post below is reproduced from CANresist.blog. It applies equally for veterinary medicine. I think most people buy into the concept of fossil fuels being finite resources. Someday, they’ll run out or logistics and cost of extraction will make them impractical. Accordingly, we’re thinking about ways to reduce and improve use (to delay the end of the… Continue Reading

CANresist

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other animals
Introducing CANresist, a new initiative aimed at fostering antibiotic stewardship in Canada across the human and animal health fields and beyond, in order to maintain the effectiveness of these life-saving drugs. Follow us at CANresist.com or CANresist.blog, or on Facebook. Also check out our Twitter feed @CANADAresist, including our #mylastantibiotic tag to talk about the last time… Continue Reading

Infections from backyard poultry

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a question (or a dozen) about backyard poultry. As more cities consider or enact laws allowing urban poultry, the debates about and around this issue increase. It’s also becoming a big business, with ample options for people to buy chicken coops (or high end chicken condos),… Continue Reading

Psittacosis in a pet store worker

Posted in Birds
Following up on yesterday’s post about a bird-and-fish-associated infection, this next story also involves a pet bird, but with a much worse outcome. It involves a young woman who developed a very serious case of psittacosis linked to her job in a pet store. Psittacosis is a bacterial disease caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, a bacterium… Continue Reading

A bird, some fish and a near amputation: Bizarre headline but an important story

Posted in Birds
Why is it that zoonotic disease case reports in the scientific literature sometimes get titles that are…well, let’s just say “creative.” A recent example of a strange headline for an interesting case report is “The Brief Case: A Fishy Tale Prevents Digital Doom following Polly’s Peck—the Importance of Pets in a Comprehensive Medical History” published in… Continue Reading

Immunocompromised People and Their Pets

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles
This month’s edition of the Internal Medicine Journal contains an article entitled High rates of potentially infectious exposures between immunocompromised patients and their companion animals: an unmet need for education (Gurry et al. 2017). The study is fairly superficial and there’s nothing particularly surprising in the paper, with results similar to what has been reported in… Continue Reading

More avian flu in cats…H5N6 in South Korea

Posted in Birds, Cats
Following on the heels of an H7N2 influenza outbreak in cats (and one person) in New York, H5N6 avian influenza has been found in two dead cats in Pocheon, Gyeonggi province, South Korea. This highly pathogenic avian influenza strain has been active in South Korea since November 2016, resulting in the death or euthanasia of… 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

Animals in Child Care Facilities: New Guidance

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles
Animals are not uncommonly found in daycares and other childcare settings. Sometimes, it’s good: animals can be entertaining, animal contact can have various benefits to children, and animals can be part of learning activities. Other times, it’s not: such as the presence of species at higher risk for shedding certain pathogens, poor management that increases… 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

More on urban chickens: Part I

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
Urban chickens continue to be in the news, with debate about instituting (or enforcing) bylaws banning or restricting the raising of chickens in backyards running next to articles on how to raise your own backyard flock. People have various concerns, including: Noise Attracting wildlife, including predators such as coyotes Smell Infectious diseases Animal welfare But,… Continue Reading

Small flocks, urban chickens and bird flu

Posted in Birds
Three poultry flocks in Ontario have been found to be infected with H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  Under the direction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the lead agency when it comes to responding to federally reportable diseases like this, disease control zones have been established around the affected flocks, and movement of… Continue Reading

Salmonella and fair poultry exhibits

Posted in Birds
As fall fair season starts, concerns about petting zoo outbreaks rise. While deficiencies are still common, petting zoos seem to be getting better with their infection control measures. People too are starting to get better at doing what their asked to do – namely washing their hands after visiting these exhibits. However, as we’ve shown… Continue Reading

Chicken diapers…even I couldn’t make this one up

Posted in Birds
I have three kids that are all now (thankfully) past the diaper stage. I have no idea how many diapers I changed, but I don’t have a huge desire to start doing it again, especially for chickens. Yes, there are now diapers for chickens. I understand the whole urban chicken concept. I don’t actually have many… Continue Reading

Psittacosis closure at Atlanta zoo

Posted in Birds
Zoo Atlanta has closed its parakeet exhibit after one of the birds died of Chlamydophila psittaci infection. The concern is that this bacterium can cause infection in people (sometimes called parrot fever). Infection of humans is uncommon and usually just causes flu-like disease, but it can be very serious, especially if not diagnosed properly in… Continue Reading

Record settlement for pet store-associated infection

Posted in Birds
An Irish woman has won a record, multi-million Euro settlement after developing severe disease while working at a pet store. Patricia Ingle was a healthy 19-year-old when she was working in a Limerick, Ireland pet store. Then she developed psittacosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci, which she most likely contracted from a… Continue Reading

TB in a bird…Human health risk?

Posted in Birds
A bird specialty store owner wrote me recently, concerned about potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure. A client’s bird had been diagnosed with "human TB" and that person had spent a lot of time with the bird. The source of the TB hadn’t been identified, and the store owner was worried about the risk that he/she had been exposed… Continue Reading

Dead birds around a feeder: What to do?

Posted in Birds
Like any animal, disease outbreaks can occur in wild birds. Unless they are large outbreaks they often go unnoticed, but smaller outbreaks can sometimes be encountered by homeowners with bird feeders. Because bird feeders are mixing sites for birds, they are also sites of disease transmission and a place where deaths can be identified. In… Continue Reading