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Echinococcus multilocularis, a small tapeworm with a big name, is causing big concerns in Ontario, an area that was until recently considered free of this parasite. This tapeworm is normally found in the intestinal tract of wild canids (e.g. coyotes, foxes) and can also infect dogs. That itself isn’t a problem, since the intestinal form of the worm doesn’t make these animals sick. The concern arises when something (or someone) ingests tapeworm eggs from the…
Well, not really. Presumably most people don’t have direct contact with skunks; however, that doesn’t mean skunks can’t pick up viruses from us. A study published in Zoonoses and Public Health (Britton et al. 2018) investigated human H1N1 influenza in wild skunks in the greater Vancouver, BC (Canada) area, following up on an earlier study that found influenza virus in 2/50 skunks (both skunks had human contact). They looked at the nose, lungs…
I spend a lot of time answering questions about rabies exposures, and sometimes trying to clear up misinformation. Rabies is a very important infectious disease but in many regions (like here) it’s fortunately rare in domestic animals and people. However, rarity can breed complacency or lack of (or loss of) knowledge. That creates problems when people are thrust into the middle of a potential rabies exposure situation, in which they are frequently worried and stressed,…
Tularemia is a nasty bacterial disease. The bug that causes it, Francisella tularensis, is a category A bioterrorism agent (along with things like anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox and Ebola virus). It’s classified as that because it’s highly transmissible and causes serious disease, so it’s something you definitely don’t want. The bacterium circulates in the wild, most often associated with rabbits and rodents. Human infections are usually associated with exposure to these types of wild animals…
The indoor vs outdoor cat debate never seems to end. Some decry outdoor cats as the world’s most destructive “invasive species.” Some say that outdoor cats do what outdoor cats (and any other carnivores) do… they hunt to eat. Cats kill large numbers of birds every year. So do lots of other things. In an ideal world, we’d have no feral cats and all pet cats would live happily inside. We don’t live in that…
As is typical for this time of year, the annual US rabies report has been published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Ma et al, 2018). Here are some highlights: 4454 rabid animals were identified across the country. This is certainly a marked underestimate of the actual number since most rabid animals aren’t seen or tested. This number is down 9% from 2016. I’m not sure what that means (or…
No, we haven’t changed to a cooking blog, I’m talking about bites of the canine variety. I can’t think of any specific data that would show it, but I wonder whether bites are more common around the holidays, with disrupted schedules and more visitors (and a potential midnight intruder in a red suit). The rabies-related response to a bite is nothing new, but it still causes a lot of confusion so I’ll re-hash it here.…
I’m once again prepared to call Ontario (and Canada) canine influenza-free… for now, at least. The latest cluster, associated with another importation of the virus from China, seems to have been contained. The last new positive case was identified October 30, with the likely date of exposure being October 23. We are now beyond the 28-day shedding window that we use for H3N2 canine flu, plus some extra time tacked on to give us time…
A recent article from the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News Service describes a strange cluster of feline tuberculosis (TB) cases in the UK, with a possible link to food. In cats, TB is rare and usually caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a bacterium most often associated with cattle and bovine TB. M. bovis is present in the UK and circulates in some wildlife species. TB can be a nasty disease, and without treatment, it’s fatal (in…
I’ve been behind on posts so here’s a quick update: things seem to be going well in the latest Canadian H3N2 canine influenza outbreak. Here’s the rundown: After eradicating the last outbreak in the spring, cases were identified again in mid-October, associated with more importation of dogs from Asia. The last new positive dog was identified October 30th. All infected dogs that have been identified in the latest cluster have  close ties to the index…