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Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

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Two reports came out this week, both detailing the scourge of antibiotic resistance. In Canada, the Canadian Council of Academies released “When antibiotics fail: the expert panel on the potential socio-economic impacts of antimicrobial resistance in Canada.” Not to be outdone, the CDC released Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019. They’re both comprehensive, with a combined >400 pages explaining that this is a big problem. I’m not going try to…
A colleague sent this leading in with “you can’t make this stuff up.”  He was right. Here’s the Cole’s notes version of the story of a couple’s visit to a Louisiana truck stop. A Florida couple stops at a roadside rest stop that has some animals on display as attractions. Their (apparently poorly restrained) small dog enters a pen with a camel, where there are numerous signs warning visitors to keep out. The woman…
I was flying home from Vancouver the other day and there was a lot of barking from the holding area near the baggage carousels. It sounded like a lot of dogs were back there, which obviously got me thinking about from where they had come, to where they were going and what risks might be involved. We have hardly any idea of the number of dogs that fly within or into Canada and where they…
“Kennel cough” (now more conventionally termed “canine infectious respiratory disease complex’)  is a fairly common problem in dogs that can be caused by an array of bacteria and viruses. We commonly see it in outbreaks, often linked to kennels, but sometimes we see higher levels of disease in the broader community. What we’re more concerned about is new problems , new patterns or more severe disease. We may be seeing an increase in respiratory disease…
While it was pretty well documented on the Worms & Germs Blog as it was underway, the full story regarding Ontario’s 2018 canine influenza outbreak(s) has now been published in the latest edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases. You can use the link above to access the full report, but here are some highlights. There were 104 confirmed cases. In most outbreaks, we talk about how that’s likely the minority of true cases. However, here,…
A recent CDC expert commentary was recently published on “Animal Lovers and Zoonotic Diseases: 5 Things to Know“.  Regular readers of Worms & Germs will find many of the points very familiar, but the article provides a nice summary of some of the recurring themes that arise when dealing with animals and people and the infectious diseases we share.  The article is great reading for healthcare providers (who are in fact the target…
There have been a few news reports about an apparent increased incidence of the fungal disease, blastomycosis, in dogs in Minnesota. Blastomycosis is an interesting disease with important “One Health” aspects. It’s caused by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis, that naturally lives in the soil in certain parts of the world. The risk is highly variable by region, being an important concern in some areas and a non-entity in others… and sometimes those are not…
Here’s an interesting article from the CDC about canine importation, the ways people try to avoid the rules and what’s being done to counteract these issues. Illogical, dangerous and/or illegal dog importation continues to be a problem in many countries, and many people unknowingly support it by assisting with importation or buying trafficked dogs. This article, Perspective from the field: illegal puppy imports uncovered from JFK airport highlights some important issues.…
As part of our research into antibiotic use and resistance, we’re looking at what drives antibiotic prescription, use and compliance. It’s a complex subject and needs to be approached from a variety of angles. One angle is looking at what pet owners perceive or want. To address this, we’ve launched a survey designed to gather information about pet owners’ perceptions and preferences when treating their pets for an infection. The study is funded by the…
Following up on the lighthearted rant about fake emotional support animals, it’s important to remember that animals can do great things in many situations. Dental offices weren’t really on my radar until Dr. Anne Gussgard from the UiT Arctic University of Norway contacted me about the work her team was doing with dog-assisted therapy in dental offices. It makes complete sense, as dental offices can be anxiety-invoking for many, and the calming effect of a…