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Archives: Pocket pets

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Another rat bite fever warning

Posted in Pocket pets
A case report in the Medical Journal of Australia (Pananicolas et al 2012) describes a case of rat bite fever and comes with the typical warning about this uncommon but concerning disease. Rat bite fever is an infection caused by the bacterium Streptobacillus moniliformis (the main cause in most countries) or Spirillum minus (the main… Continue Reading

New guinea pig…new ringworm outbreak

Posted in Pocket pets
A Kitchener, Ontario family is dealing with a household outbreak of ringworm, likely contracted from a new pet guinea pig. Ringworm is a fungal infection cause by a few different types of fungi. Some ringworm fungi are able to infect both people and animals, and those can be spread in households from direct contact with… Continue Reading

MRSA transmission between hamster and human

Posted in Pocket pets
The more we look, the more we find when it comes to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). As people start looking for it in different animal species, it’s often found. We’ve found it in many species already, including dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, walruses, dolphins and alpacas, so it’s not a big surprise to see a recent… Continue Reading

Pediatrician says kids shouldn’t have rats

Posted in Pocket pets
A Montreal pediatrics resident has expressed concern about rat bite fever in kids. Dr. Karine Khatchadourian described three cases of this bacterial infection in a paper called “The rise of the rats: a growing paediatric issue,” published last year in the journal Paediatrics and Child Health. The article didn’t really present any evidence that this… Continue Reading

Rat bite fever leads to pet store lawsuit

Posted in Pocket pets
A Phoenix, Arizona man is suing a pet store after he contracted rat bite fever from a rat he had purchased. It’s not surprising to see a lawsuit following a serious illness, considering people in the US often try to sue for just about anything, but I’m not sure it won’t get very far. I don’t… Continue Reading

G-force and zoonotic disease

Posted in Pocket pets, Salmonella
It seems like whenever a hit TV show or movie features an animal, there’s concern about the "101 Dalmatians effect," whereby there’s a mad rush to get the animal for a pet. When 101 Dalmatians was a hit movie, there was a huge spike in sales of this rather unusual breed – a breed which… Continue Reading

Rabid rat attack

Posted in Pocket pets, Rabies
Cab drivers have to put up with a lot of risks, but attacks from marauding rats probably aren’t high on their list of concerns. However, a Ukrainian cab driver was recently attacked by a rat, and the rat was subsequently killed and found to be positive for rabies. The cab driver is now undergoing post-exposure… Continue Reading

Weil’s disease from a pet rat

Posted in Other diseases, Pocket pets
A recent edition of the Veterinary Record contains a case report of Weil’s disease in a person that adopted a feral (wild) rat (Strugnell et al, 2009). Weil’s disease is a severe disease of the kidneys, liver and other body systems that can develop after acute leptospirosis (infection by Leptospira bacteria). This group of bacteria… Continue Reading

Cowpox from rats

Posted in Other diseases, Pocket pets
Cowpox is a disease caused by cowpox virus. This virus is most famous for being used by Edward Jenner to vaccinate people against smallpox (which is caused by a related virus). However, despite the name, rodents are the natural host of cowpox virus, not cows. Most human cases of cowpox are associated with contact with… Continue Reading

Rat bite fever

Posted in Other diseases, Pocket pets
Rats can be really interesting pets. They can be quite social and are interesting to watch. Being larger than hamsters and gerbils, they can also be more easily and safely handled. They can still bite, however, particularly if they are not properly socialized and/or they are handled by people who don’t know how to do… Continue Reading

Testing for ringworm with toothbrushes

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other animals, Other diseases, Pocket pets
If your veterinarian suspects your pet may have ringworm, there are several different ways he or she may test for the causative fungus (a dermatophyte) on your animal’s fur and skin.  Some of these techniques are more useful than others in different situations. Wood’s lamp:  A Wood’s lamp is simply a special ultraviolet light.  Approximately… Continue Reading

Nontraditional Pets and Children: Beware

Posted in Birds, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles, Salmonella
A report about the health risks in children associated with nontraditional pets was recently published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report also discusses diseases associated with animals in public settings such as petting zoos and pet stores.  Although contact with pets and animals can be beneficial to growth… Continue Reading

Ringworm Part 2: Cleaning Up

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Pocket pets
For more information on ringworm, see the Worms & Germs post Ringworm: Skin fungus by any other name.  The photos here show ringworm lesions on a person’s arm and on a cat’s face, respectively.  (Photo credits: A. Yu, Ontario Veterinary College) Over the past several years, studies have shown that many environmental disinfectants sold and… Continue Reading

Ringworm: skin fungus by any other name

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Pocket pets
Ringworm infection is not caused by a worm at all – it’s actually a skin infection caused by certain kinds of fungus called dermatophytes. The scientific name for ringworm is dermatophytosis, or dermatomycosis. Some of the more common zoonotic species of dermatophytes found in animals include Microsporum canis, Trichophyton verrucosum, T. equinum, and T. mentagrophytes.… Continue Reading

Your mother was right! Wash your hands

Posted in Birds, Cats, Clostridium difficile, Dogs, Horses, MRSA/MRSP, Other animals, Other diseases, Parasites, Pocket pets, Reptiles, Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis
You may notice a recurring theme in many of our posts and on virtually all of the information sheets on the Worms & Germs Resources page: an emphasis on handwashing. There is increasing emphasis on hand hygiene (i.e. hand washing and use of alcohol hand sanitizers) education in hospitals because the hands of healthcare workers… Continue Reading

Happy Household Hamsters

Posted in Pocket pets
The right kind of pet can be an invaluable source of learning experiences for a child. But there’s always the question of what is the right kind of pet for a child, a family and a household? A dog or a cat is not ideal for everyone. Sometimes a small pet, such as a hamster,… Continue Reading

Hazardous hedgehogs

Posted in Other animals, Pocket pets, Salmonella
While most people that want a pet stick to the tried-and-true species, there are a huge number of different animals available. Some make good pets, some are relatively harmless but not suitable for most households and some are potentially dangerous. Hedgehogs probably fit into the latter 2 categories. No…hedgehogs aren’t sneaking out of their cages… Continue Reading

Pet store sued after hamster-associated death

Posted in Pocket pets
A woman whose husband died of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection is suing a pet store. The suit alleges that a hamster purchased at the store was the source of infection of a person, who subsequently suffered a fatal stroke (unrelated to the infection). The hamster-owner’s liver was donated to the Plaintiff’s husband, who died… Continue Reading

Information Sheets for Pet Owners

Posted in Birds, Cats, Clostridium difficile, Dogs, MRSA/MRSP, Other diseases, Parasites, Pocket pets, Rabies, Reptiles, Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis
INFORMATION SHEETS FOR PET OWNERS INFORMATION SHEETS specifically for KIDS, for VETERINARIANS, for PHYSICIANS and for PUBLIC HEALTH PERSONNEL are also available on the Worms & Germs RESOURCES page! Click on the highlighted topics below for information sheets. Topics that are not highlighted are in development and coming soon. Sheets for other animal species and diseases are… Continue Reading

Research Posters

Posted in Clostridium difficile, Dogs, Horses, MRSA/MRSP, Other animals, Other diseases, Parasites, Pocket pets, Rabies, Reptiles, Research posters, Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis
2012 International Clostridium difficile Symposium Clostridium difficile in the environment of a community hospital 2012 International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases IX Staphylococcus delphini and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius in horses 2011 ASM-ESCMID Conference on Methicillin-resistant staphylococci in animals Miconazole susceptibility of MRSA and MRSP Livestock associated MRSA in community hospitals in Ontario Equine hospital MRSA surveillance… Continue Reading