Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: what were they thinking?

One more reason to avoid rattlesnake pills

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
Not that I needed one more reason to avoid them, but a recent CDC release warns about the risk of Salmonella infection associated with rattlesnake pills.  These pills, a literal variation of the old “snake oil” remedies, are apparently marketed as a cure for a variety of ailments, including cancer and HIV. Yet, the best evidence… 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

Fake service animals in action

Posted in Other animals
I go on periodic rants about people abusing service animal rules to take their pets places they cannot normally go (while potentially compromising the critically important need for true service animals to have unfettered access). Sometimes, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one. A recent article (pointed out by a writer from the VIN… Continue Reading

Monkey bites and rabies quarantine

Posted in Other animals
"A monkey was placed under a six-month quarantine on Tuesday after it reportedly bit a woman at a Beaumont restaurant on Sunday…" Oh, where to start… Why do people feel the need to have monkeys as pets? I realize that they’re fascinating critters, but is it in the best interests of the monkey and 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

Dumb internet advice

Posted in Dogs
No, not what I write (although I certainly get enough emails suggesting otherwise… and I’m sure another round of interesting emails is going to be coming at my way shortly). In the past, and even sometimes still today, public health has had to deal with the phenomenon of having "chickenpox parties." These are events held… Continue Reading

Cat attack pins family in bedroom

Posted in Cats
Actually, the title of this post should be “Obese cat attacks family after being booted in the rear as a disciplinary measure. Family freaks out but wants to keep cat.” Oh, where to start.  1) A 22 lb cat is obese and there are obviously animal care issues. 2) Kicking a cat in the rear… Continue Reading

Things not to do with reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
I would have thought this would fall under the realm of common sense, but as the saying goes: Common sense is like deodorant, the people that need it the most don’t use it. A recent report out of Scotland is warning people not to kiss their pet reptiles, in response to four people who were… Continue Reading

“Angels’ eyes”…and this is a good idea because…?

Posted in Cats
Antibiotic resistance is a big deal. Lots of people and animals die because of it every year. It costs the healthcare systems (human and veterinary) tremendous amounts of money and it’s not getting better. It’s been clear for years that we have to do a better job of using antibiotics responsibly, in both animals and… Continue Reading

Projectile penguin poop

Posted in Other animals
In my line of work, I deal with feces from a lot of different species. Never once, however, have I thought to model defecation pressure and distances. Maybe I’m just strange. A few years ago, German researchers felt the need to model the defecation habits of penguins. The title of the paper, published in Polar… Continue Reading

More on fake service dogs

Posted in Dogs
This one’s not very surprising since it’s the typical fake service dog scam, but it made me laugh. While on a completely unrelated website, I saw an ad on the page that said something like "Trouble walking on the beach with your service dog? Check us out." Unfortunately, I did. The website sells the typical "service… Continue Reading

More on fake service dogs

Posted in Dogs
I’ve written (whined, lamented, and complained) about this before, but it’s rearing its ugly head again: fake service dogs. Essentially, it comes down to self-centred people who think they should be able to do whatever they want, and the inevitable fallout that can occur for people that truly rely on service animals. It goes like… 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

Show me the paper…oh wait…

Posted in Miscellaneous
“Show me the peer-reviewed publication.” This is a common refrain used, particularly by the scientifically-minded, when talking to someone about the latest trendy diagnosis, treatment or other medical "discovery." It used to be relatively easy to use this method to assess the reliability of new information. If something was published in a peer-reviewed journal, it… Continue Reading

Dogs in the delivery room?

Posted in Dogs
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for pet therapy and animal visitation in hospitals – when it’s done logically. I’ve been involved in research in the area, helped develop international guidelines and am chair of the medical advisory board of one of the largest pet therapy groups in the US. Animals can do great things… Continue Reading

Ferret legging…a sport?

Posted in Other animals
With the lingering NHL strike, TV networks are looking for replacement sports. One of my PhD students (who claims he doesn’t spend too much time playing around on the internet but keeps coming up with these gems) sent me information about one sport that’s not coming to a network near you. Yes, it’s ferret legging.… Continue Reading

Dear vet clinic design ‘experts’: Pet owners aren’t stupid

Posted in Other diseases
In the latest edition of the American Animal Hospital Association’s Trends magazine, there’s an article about veterinary clinic design. The section dealing with exam rooms says: Discussion is ongoing about whether sinks are needed in the exam room now that hand sanitizers are available. I’m not sure who’s discussing this. Hand sanitizers are great and… Continue Reading

More dumb pet problems

Posted in Other animals
No, I’m not referring to pets lacking in intelligence (my dog Meg leads that category). Rather, I’m talking about questionable decisions by pet owners. Here are a few bewildering stories: The Indian River Reptile Zoo near Peterborough, Ontario, rushed some of their stock of snake anti-venom to Brantford General Hospital (about three hours away) to… Continue Reading

Transfusion-associated equine infectious anemia

Posted in Horses
A few years ago, I looked out my kitchen window one holiday morning and saw a newborn foal running outside of a fence line. The foal had been born to my neighbours’ mare, a maiden mare, and they were out of town. The mare had rejected the foal and wasn’t interested in any of my… Continue Reading

LDDD outbreak in Ontario

Posted in Dogs
It’s apparent that there’s an ongoing outbreak of LDDD, a potentially fatal dog-associated problem in people in this area. It seems to be a seasonal disorder, with nice weather bringing out more cases. I’ve seen a couple nasty cases in the past 24 hours, including one tonight that could have resulted in the deaths of… Continue Reading

Canine flu in Ontario…not really

Posted in Dogs
It’s amazing how one little email comment can make a mess of my week. Here’s the story: I sent an email to a colleague that works for an agency in Ontario. At the bottom of the email, I gave an FYI about an Ontario dog that was found to have antibodies against canine flu, but… Continue Reading

Pasteurella infection from a dog…not likely

Posted in Dogs
A few months ago, I wrote about an article that appeared in the journal Orthopedics. It was a very bad article that blamed a person’s infection on "excessive contact" with pets, with no evidence that the pets were involved (and no evidence that dogs have ever been found to carry the bacterium in question). Here’s the… Continue Reading