Worms & Germs Blog

Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

Latest from Worms & Germs Blog

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…
Things have been quiet over the past few days. That’s good news (but always makes me a bit antsy, because I want to be sure it’s because there are no new cases vs we’re just not finding them). Documented infections have been confined to one region, with the exception of a dog that travelled out of the area, and which is (hopefully) being kept under quarantine for 28 days at its new location. We’re still…
We’ve known for some time that there are human health risks from feeding pets raw meat-based diets. Most of the evidence of this has been anecdotal, as published reports have been sparse. A few better documented reports have started to appear, including the fatal E. coli O157 infection I wrote about recently. A few days ago, the CDC released a report about an outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infections in the US. It involved 92…
As expected, a few more cases have been identified in the most recent cluster of canine influenza virus (CIV) identified in Ontario. So far, there are about 20 confirmed or suspected cases. To date, we’re still only finding cases that have a link to another infected dog or facility. That’s good news. If we start getting cases of unknown origin and/or cases outside the currently affected area, I’ll be more concerned (specifically about the…
Lots of media reports have been saying that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people not to dress up their chickens for Halloween. Yes, chickens. I wouldn’t have thought that policing chicken fashion would be high on the CDC’s to-do list, but the concern is obviously related to the perpetual outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to chicks and pet poultry. Did CDC actually say it? No. Does that mean they disagree?…
Human health risks from raw pet food (either from exposure to pathogens in the food or in the feces of pets eating the food) are known to exist but they’re not well characterized. We know that dogs fed raw meat-based diets clearly have increased risk of shedding various pathogens, particularly Salmonella and multidrug resistant E. coli. We know this results in some degree of disease risk in animals and in humans, but the scope of…