Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: wildlife

2012 US rabies recap

Posted in Dogs
It’s that time of year again… time for the US annual rabies surveillance report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Dyer et al 2013). Some highlights: There were 6162 cases of rabies diagnosed in animals in 2012. (This is a 2.1% increase from 2011, but I don’t put much stock into changes… Continue Reading

Irony…bad luck…rabies-magnet…pick your terminology

Posted in Dogs
The word "ironic” gets used a lot, often incorrectly. Alanis Morrissette’s hit song “Ironic” is a great example of this since she (ironically?) describes situations that aren’t really ironic, they just suck (i.e. winning the lottery and dying the next day isn’t ironic, it’s just bad luck). Anyway, irony doesn’t have much to do with… Continue Reading

US Rabies update

Posted in Dogs
ProMed-mail usually posts a monthly recap of rabies cases in the US. The most recent one (like most of them) doesn’t have anything too astounding, but it provides some good reminders. Skunk attacks baby A five-month-old baby that was outside in a car seat was bitten in the face several times by a skunk. 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

Songbird Salmonella in Sonoma

Posted in Cats
This story’s a couple of weeks old, but Sonoma County (California) residents have been warned about an outbreak of salmonellosis in songbirds. Outbreaks of salmonellosis occur occasionally in songbirds such as finches, and can result is lots of sick and dead birds. There are also risks to other species, including cats and people. Why cats?… Continue Reading

MRSP in urban rats

Posted in Other animals
A year or two ago, I received an email from Dr. Chelsea Himsworth, who was doing some interesting work looking at different bacteria found in rats in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This is an impoverished urban neighbourhood with lots of homeless people, IV drug users and HIV-infected individuals… and lots of rats. Dr. Himsworth, a veterinary pathologist working… Continue Reading

Boy Scouts not so prepared this time

Posted in Other animals
Earlier this year, a troop of Boy Scouts in the US beat off a rabid beaver that was attacking their leader (I wonder if there’s a badge for that). Boy Scouts and infectious diseases are in the news again, but not with as happy a story. In the recent incident reported on ProMED, ten Boy… Continue Reading

Another rabid beaver

Posted in Other animals
I don’t know whether it’s because a) there are more rabid beavers these days, b) rabid beavers have always been around in these numbers but they have recently acquired a taste for human flesh, or c) it’s just a fluke, but another rabid beaver was recently reported in the US. The latest incident involved a beaver… Continue Reading

Echinococcus in Canada

Posted in Dogs
If you ask people about tapeworms, they typically think about the "ick" factor of having a  large worm in their gut, but they probably don’t get too concerned. However, some types of tapeworm infection can be serious health problems in humans and animals. One of the worst is infection by the tapeworm species Echinococcus multilocularis.… Continue Reading

Plague from pet cat

Posted in Cats
Plague cases tend to get a lot of press. The fact that this disease killed a large percentage of the human population in a few different pandemics (albeit centuries ago for the most part) probably plays a role in that. Despite the impression by some that it’s just a historical disease, plague is alive and… Continue Reading

Raccoon distemper warnings

Posted in Dogs
There have been various news reports from different parts of North America describing distemper outbreak in raccoons. Distemper is a viral infection caused by canine distemper virus, which is related to the human measles virus (but the canine version can’t infect people). A variety of animal species in addition to dogs can get distemper, most… Continue Reading

Latest round of rabies news

Posted in Cats
ProMed’s latest accumulation of rabies reports has the typical mix of domestic animal and wildlife rabies cases, and some recurring themes. Fox / dog / human, North Carolina In this case, a rabid fox had a "direct encounter" with several people, then it was killed by a dog. Three people have started post-exposure treatment. The… Continue Reading

Rabies exposure and confusion

Posted in Dogs
Max, a 12-year-old Chihuahua from Greenfield, New Jersey, was euthanized recently after he was exposed to rabies. While far from unusual, the case highlights the ongoing risk of rabies exposure as well as issues with understanding of rabies guidelines and communication. Max was attacked by a rabid raccoon – an ever-present risk for animals that… Continue Reading

Canine distemper in Niagara region raccoons

Posted in Dogs
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Welland SPCA are warning people about an apparently large number of cases of distemper in raccoons in the area. Distemper is a pretty nasty disease which can be spread between dogs and wildlife. It’s caused by canine distemper virus, but the "canine" part of the name can be… Continue Reading

Shelter Giardia outbreak from birds?

Posted in Dogs
The Redlands Animal Shelter in California is looking into bird control measures after blaming Giardia infections in dogs on exposure to wild bird poop. On Facebook, Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals have declared "We have a serious problem with birds at the shelter. They land on the kennels and poop goes into the water bowls… 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

Raccoon invaders and roundworms

Posted in Other animals
Here’s a recent question I received:  "My problem is that the raccoon broke a window, came into my house, ate the cat food and then defecated on the kitchen floor. Since they went a day without food, the cats may have eaten the few bits of food that were left behind. How can I tell… Continue Reading

Bat cull for Hendra virus prevention?

Posted in Horses
As Australia faces a particularly bad year for Hendra virus, with possible expansion of the range of this serious disease, there have been calls for a mass cull of flying foxes (fruit bats).  These bats are the reservoir of the virus but also a protected species. The virus lives in the bats and is spread… Continue Reading

Plague in New Mexico cat and dog

Posted in Cats
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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

Pet raccoon attackes baby, owners in denial

Posted in Other animals
Raccoons are fascinating critters but they don’t make good pets. Their curiosity makes them quite disruptive and damaging, and they have seriously injured people (particularly infants). They are also rabies vectors, and in many regions raccoon ownership (along with other wildlife species) is illegal (or only legal with a license). Despite all this, some people… Continue Reading

Plague in Oregon

Posted in Dogs
The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports has a short report about two plague cases in the US. Plague, while often thought of as a historical disease (the Black Death), is alive and well in wild rodents in some areas of the world, including parts of North America, and human cases continue to occur. Here… Continue Reading

2010 Animal Rabies Summary

Posted in Cats
In Canada, rabies testing and surveillance is performed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). National data for 2010 are now available and indicate there were a small number of cases in domestic animals, with more in wildlife, for a total of 123 cases. Dogs: There were three cases, all in Saskatchewan. Cats: Four cases,… Continue Reading