Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: Other diseases

White House antibiotic resistance action plan

Posted in Other diseases
The White House has released a "National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria". This follows on the heels of "Executive Order 13676: Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" which was issued by President Barack Obama on September 18, 2014, along with the "National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" presented by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science… Continue Reading

Mad Cow in Alberta

Posted in Other diseases
Last week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, was found in an Alberta beef cow.  BSE belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) that are not caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites, but rather… Continue Reading

Echinococcus multilocularis…small tapeworm, big problem

Posted in Dogs
Echinococcus multilocularis is causing increasing concern in Ontario lately (amongst the few people who are aware of it, at least) as there’s evidence that it may have become established in the province. This parasite is a tapeworm harboured by canids (including both domestic dogs and wild ones like coyotes and foxes), and can cause serious… Continue Reading

Turtles and botulism

Posted in Reptiles
As reported on barfblog.com (with, as ever, an entertaining title: You see a cute turtle, I see a bug factory: Infant botulism from C. butyricum) a recent paper in the journal Epidemiology and Infection (Shelley et al. 2015) reports an unusual turtle-associated disease. When we think about turtles and infections (especially infections of young kids),… Continue Reading

Imported and local Leishmania, Finland

Posted in Dogs
I’ve written a fair bit about leishmaniasis in dogs lately, mainly in the context of potential risks from imported dogs. This parasitic infection is a concern because it can be serious and hard to treat, and also affects humans. Dogs are the main reservoir of Leishmania infantum, and it’s an important cause of disease in… Continue Reading

EEE in Ontario 2014

Posted in Horses
2014 was the worst year ever for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Ontario (though our numbers still pale in comparison to more endemic areas in the southern US, such as Florida). A recent article published in the Animal Health Lab (AHL) Newletter (December 2014) by Dr. Alison Moore from OMAFRA sums things up well: "Twenty-two… Continue Reading

Lyme disease & ticks: New infosheet

Posted in Other diseases
The latest Worms & Germs infosheet, all about Lyme disease and ticks, is now available on the Resources – Pets page.  Although it’s getting colder and occasionally snowy up in Ontario, there are lots of parts of North America where ticks are active all year round.  It’s particularly important for any "snowbirds" who may travel… Continue Reading

More on Ebola

Posted in Dogs
Since I’ve spent most of my day answering questions about Ebola, here are some of the common Q&As. Can dogs be infected with Ebola? Yes, but what that really means is unclear. Most of the available information comes from a study in Gabon where they tested dogs in a community during an Ebola outbreak. They found… Continue Reading

Ebola kills dog…indirectly

Posted in Dogs
There’s prudence and then there’s "let’s kill it so we don’t have to think about it." The Spanish response to Ebola in a nursing assistant is a demonstration of the latter. Health Officials in Spain have obtained a court order to "euthanize and incinerate" the dog owned by a nursing assistant who was infected with… Continue Reading

Ebola: precautions and paranoia

Posted in Other diseases
Awareness is good. Being proactive is wise. Being paranoid? That’s another story. As this unprecedented Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa continues to expand, many people in North America have journeyed from ignoring it, to considering it a disease that you only get if you’re in Africa, to thinking they need for move to some… Continue Reading

Never a simple story: West Nile in California

Posted in Other diseases
Orange County CA is currently experiencing a major outbreak of West Nile infection in people. Since January 94 cases have been confirmed, three of which were fatal, representing nearly a quarter of the 400 cases reported across the country so far this year. The number of cases of infection with a mosquito-borne virus like West… Continue Reading

EHV-1 on Oregon farm

Posted in Horses
An outbreak of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) neurological disease has occurred on an Oregon farm. At last report, five horses had tested positive for the virus (though it’s not clear if all of them had neurological disease) and one had died. EHV-1 outbreaks are not exactly rare these days. There’s certainly more reporting of… Continue Reading

Strangles in the news

Posted in Horses
There’s been a lot of press about strangles (Streptococcus equi) outbreaks in Ontario lately, including a biosecurity update from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). In some ways, it’s surprising since this is an endemic disease and strangles is pretty much always causing trouble somewhere in the province. However, a little press is… Continue Reading

The ongoing heartworm controversy

Posted in Dogs
The American Heartworm Society (AHS) recently issued a release emphasizing that "Contrary to what owners may think, heartworm disease is a year-round threat" and encouraging people to use heartworm preventive medications year round. I’m in Canada, not the US, but some US regions have a similar climate and similar issues to us. Also, some people… Continue Reading

Parvo (again) in a Georgia animal shelter

Posted in Dogs
For the third time in the past year, Macon-Bill Animal Welfare in Georgia (USA) has a problem with canine parvovirus. The shelter is closed for two weeks in response to a puppy testing positive for this highly contagious virus that can cause serious disease in dogs (almost exclusively in unvaccinated puppies). At first glance, it… Continue Reading

New pig disease arrives in Ontario

Posted in Other diseases
It was only a matter of time, so it’s not particularly surprising, but a potentially devastating pig disease has made its way into Ontario. It’s not a concern to people or other animals, but it’s worth mentioning here anyway (both to say it’s not a public health or non-pig health concern, and since it’s a… Continue Reading

The “criticall important antibiotic” debate

Posted in Other diseases
Last week, I mentioned the antibiotic use plenary session at the ASM-ESCMID conference on methicillin-resistant staphylococci in animals. The session was designed to discuss the use of "critically important antibiotics" in companion animals – drugs like carbapenems (imipenem, meropenem) and vancomycin, which are used for treating serious multidrug-resistant infections in people as well. After the… Continue Reading

Brucellosis from Aussie pigs

Posted in Other animals
Australian Elmer Fudds beware… there are concerns that feral pig hunting is a risk factor for brucellosis in New South Wales. Brucellosis is a rare disease, but a report like this raises concern because it can be nasty, and it can also be hard to diagnose (or it’s not considered right away). We don’t have… Continue Reading

Cowpox from a cat? Not as strange as it seems.

Posted in Cats
Cowpox is a disease with a misleading name. It would be reasonable to assume that cowpox comes from cows. It doesn’t. (Just like monkeypox doesn’t come from monkeys.) Cowpox is a viral infection and the natural reservoirs are actually rodents. Humans, cats and cows are amongst the more common "accidental hosts" – species that get… Continue Reading

Capnocytophaga Info Sheet

Posted in Dogs
We’ve just posted a new info sheet about Capnocytophaga.  One member of this bacterial group in particular, Capnocytophaga canimorsus, makes the news periodically because it can cause devastating infection in some individuals, like the Ottawa woman who lost three limbs after one of her own dogs accidentally bit her.  This kind of severe infection, which… Continue Reading

Keeping kids safe around pets

Posted in Dogs
One of our most frequent pieces of advice on W&GB when it comes to kids is to always make sure they are supervised when they are around pets.  This is important for at least two major reasons, one being avoiding potential high-risk contacts when it comes to infectious disease transmission (e.g. face-to-mouth, hand-to-bum), and 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

Bartonella from needlesticks

Posted in Dogs
Something I often discuss when doing infection control talks is needlestick injuries. The contrast between the approach to needlestick injuries (and blood exposure in general) in veterinary and human medicine is pretty astounding. In humans, there are strong educational campaigns, careful reporting, testing and treatment protocols, and increasing use of "safety engineered sharps devices" like… Continue Reading

Bloodstream infections in horses from contaminated fluids

Posted in Horses
The latest edition of the University of Guelph Animal Health Laboratory’s newsletter contains an interesting report about 4 horses that died over the past few years from what was suspected to be contaminated intravenous fluid solutions. These cases were dead horses that were submitted for post-mortem examination from three different farms, so if anything, this… Continue Reading