Worms & Germs Blog

Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

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We’re getting ready to launch the Canadian Pet Tick Study, with funding from the OVC Pet Trust. We’ve had great response from veterinarians in Ontario, but need more clinics from other provinces, so please share this link with out-of-province veterinary colleagues who may be interested! Details are available here: https://www.petsandticks.com/news/calling-all-veterinary-clinics-join-the-canadian-pet-tick-survey
It’s easy to get complacent about rabies, even when you live in an endemic region. While we have ample bat rabies, Arctic fox rabies and raccoon rabies in Ontario, spillover into domestic animals is relatively rare. Success can breed complacency, though. When control measures work, it’s easy to forget why they are so important. That’s my rambling but somewhat relevant introduction to a case of rabies in a dog in Ontario. The dog, from…
A common limitation of studies or case reports of zoonotic pathogens or infections is that they are one sided – they often just discuss the human case(s), or they just report carriage of a pathogen in animals. Case reports of human infections often only go as far as saying something along the lines of “this bug is most commonly associated with dogs, so the person must have been infected by the pet dog.” Those are…
Here are some more leftover questions from the talk I did a talk recently for Third Age Learning in Guelph: As West Nile virus seems to be spreading, is there a vaccine becoming available for the general population? Probably not, but that’s just a guess.  While it should be possible to make an effective human vaccine, I suspect companies aren’t lining up to do it. We have an effective vaccine in horses, so why…
I did a talk recently for Third Age Learning in Guelph, and there was an abundance of questions. I didn’t get through them all at the time, so I figured I’d address some of them here: Do mice carry rabies? Mice aren’t rabies reservoirs like raccoons, skunks or bats, as they don’t have a rabies virus strain that circulates in the mouse population. Like any mammal, they are susceptible to rabies and can be…
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has recalled some lots of raw pet food from Woody’s Pet Food Deli, after linking them to a human infection. The link isn’t definite, but was obviously enough to prompt a recall. The situation involves a person who developed salmonellosis and, as is typical, an investigation of possible sources ensued. Salmonella Reading was isolated from the person. This strain has been previously found in raw turkey-based pet food,…
As part of efforts to try to understand the scope of importation of dogs into Canada and what measures might be taken to help reduce the infectious disease risks, we are conducting a survey of dog importers. We invite anyone involved in canine importation activities to participate: Dr. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph is performing a study evaluating canine importation, to evaluate current practices, identify areas for improvement and evaluate…
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…