Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: Birds

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

Do headline writers actually read the articles?

Posted in Dogs
Part I Lyme disease is accompanied by enough paranoia. Bad headlines don’t help. A recent article on The Daily Mail is about Lyme disease and pets. It’s actually not a bad article, outlining some important issues. However, the headline shows a big disconnect between some good content in the article and a complete misunderstanding of… Continue Reading

Antibiotics in animals: ACVIM consensus statement

Posted in Cats
Every year, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) commissions "consensus statements" on specific topics. They’re developed by an expert panel, put up for review by ACVIM members (board certified veterinary internal medicine specialists), and published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Hot off the (electronic) press is the 2015 ACVIM Consensus Statement… Continue Reading

Animal Health Laboratory Zoonotic Diseases Report

Posted in Dogs
The University of Guelph’s Animal Health Laboratory recently published a summary of selected zoonotic disease diagnoses in its monthly newsletter. It’s an interesting summary of what’s gone through the lab in the last year.  It also helps to remind us of the zoonotic potential of all of these pathogens, some of which are relatively common… Continue Reading

All I want for Christmas is hydro…and related musings

Posted in Dogs
As we were heading into our 5th day without power as a result of a nasty ice storm, the power came back on. It’s been a pain, but with the generator, fireplace and family to visit in unaffected areas, it’s more disruptive than anything. Not everyone’s that lucky. If you don’t have a generator or… Continue Reading

HIV and pets

Posted in Cats
A little knowledge can be a bad thing. We see that with zoonotic diseases. Awareness is great. However, a little bit of awareness can be a problem if it’s enough make people paranoid but not enough to help them understand the real risks. This can lead to excessive and illogical responses (often ending with "…get… 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

Dead birds, botulism and dogs

Posted in Dogs
There have been a few large outbreaks of dead birds around Ontario lately, with botulism being the main suspect. In one area alone, up to 6000 dead birds have washed up on Georgian Bay beaches. While dramatic, it’s not a rare situation at this time of year, and typically relates to birds ingesting fish that… 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

Infection from raccoon to parrot

Posted in Other animals
An article in the May/June edition of Canadian Vet Newsmagazine (a magazine, not to be confused with Canadian Veterinary Journal, a scientific journal), described an interesting case of an indoor pet bird acquiring an infection from a wild raccoon, despite no direct contact. The bird was an African Grey Parrot that was admitted to the… 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

The dog in your bed probably won’t kill you

Posted in Cats
A month or two ago, there was a lot of press about the risks of pets sleeping in beds. It was in response to an article in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that didn’t put forth any new information, but summarized a few diseases that could potentially be transmitted by pets. Unfortunately, the relative risk… 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

Psittacosis outbreak from a bird fair

Posted in Birds
A paper in Epidemiology and Infection (Belchior et al 2011) describes an outbreak of psittacosis (Chlamydophila psittaci infection) in people who attended a bird fair in western France in 2008. The investigation started off with the identification of the bird-associated disease in three people at a local hospital. All three were hospitalized with respiratory disease,… Continue Reading

Psittacosis (parrot fever) in Taipei

Posted in Birds
A 44-year-old Taipei man is recovering from psittacosis, a potentially severe infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci, which he may have contracted from his pet bird. This bacterium is commonly found in certain bird species, particularly psittacines (parrot family), and human infections are typically associated with bird contact. Healthy birds can shed the bacterium… Continue Reading

Pet bird linked to human infection?

Posted in Birds
A UK woman is both grieving the loss of her husband and battling illness she thinks came from a new pet parrot. The 67-year-old woman, who has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, obtained the bird to keep her company as her husband was dying of cancer. She says that she’s never felt right since she obtained the… Continue Reading

Look up before opening your mouth

Posted in Salmonella
Recently, Kings of Leon canceled an outdoor concert after a pigeon (with very good aim, apparently) in the rafters above the stage managed to poop on band members, including one shot that hit the face of the band’s bassist. Besides, the "ick-factor," what are the concerns? Various studies have found potentially nasty microorganisms in pigeon… Continue Reading

Peritoneal dialysis and pets

Posted in Cats
Peritoneal dialysis is used to treat some people with chronic kidney failure. Infection is a major concern, particularly peritonitis (infection of the lining of the abdomen) because peritoneal dialysis involves having an indwelling catheter that goes through the skin and body wall directly into the abdominal cavity. Infections can occur from bacteria that inadvertently get… Continue Reading

Fatal psittacosis in a parrot owner

Posted in Birds
A 62-yr-old Italian woman has died from psittacosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci. Sometimes called "parrot fever," psittacosis is an uncommon but important disease linked to contact with birds, particularly psittacines (e.g. parrots, parakeets, cockatiels). In people, C. psittaci usually causes flu-like respiratory disease, but severe pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the… Continue Reading

Pets and H1N1 revisited

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals
The recent discovery of H1N1 influenza in a pet ferret has led to another round of concern about the potential impact of H1N1 on pets and pets as a source of human infection. Finding H1N1 in a ferret is not particularly surprising, considering ferrets are susceptible to various (including human) influenza viruses. We shouldn’t dismiss… Continue Reading