Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Different animals have different levels of susceptibility to anthrax infection. In general, herbivores are found to be more susceptible to anthrax than carnivores. Under normal circumstances, cases of anthrax in cats are very rare and cats seem relatively resistant to infection, especially under normal circumstances.

  • Anthrax is a bacterial infection that can affect dogs if exposed to large amounts of bacterial-produced spores such as by terrorist attack or ingesting large quantities from infected meat. The organism that causes anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, produces spores that are resistant to typical disinfection methods and heat. These spores can last up to 40 years in the environment. Anthrax is usually spread through inhalation or ingestion of spores from infected meat, although cutaneous exposure can occur. Symptoms depend on the type of exposure and can include: black skin pustules, pneumonia, acute gastroenteritis with hemorrhagic vomiting and diarrhea, oral ulcerations, fever, weight loss, swelling of the neck, face and head and ultimately sepsis and death if not treated. Treatment requires antibiotics and can be highly effective in early stages. There currently is no canine vaccine.

  • Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are bacterial infections that are minimally or no longer responsive to commonly used antibiotics. In other words, these bacteria are resistant to antibiotics - they cannot be killed and their growth cannot be stopped. Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections most commonly affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract, or the respiratory tract.

  • Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are bacterial infections that are minimally or no longer responsive to commonly used antibiotics. In other words, these bacteria are resistant to antibiotics - they cannot be killed and their growth cannot be stopped. An infection that does not respond appropriately to an antibiotic is suggestive of an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection.

  • Aspergillosis is a fungal infection that commonly causes respiratory disease in pet birds. It can cause both upper (nose, sinuses, eye, and trachea) and lower (lungs and air sacs – a specialized part of the respiratory tract that birds have) respiratory problems or more broadly distributed systemic infections. Aspergillus is normally an environmental contaminant and is not contagious from bird to bird.

  • Feeding raw food to cats is potentially dangerous to both your cat and to you, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA. With nearly 25% of the raw food samples testing positive for harmful bacteria, the health risks for cats who eat the raw food, as well as for the cat owners who handle the food while preparing it, are real. It is reasonable to conclude that a commercially prepared, conventional, complete and life-stage balanced ration is a better choice.

  • Babesiosis is a disease that can be spread by multiple species of ticks and affect both dogs and people. It can be a persistent infection to treat and might not fully be cleared from the body. Treatment may involve multiple drugs and tick control is recommended in at risk regions for at risk pets.

  • Bacterial pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung usually caused by bacterial or viral infection but can be caused by inhalation of an irritant. Typical signs of bacterial pneumonia include fever, difficulty breathing, lethargy and coughing. As these can also be caused by other disease, diagnostics include a full physical exam, blood work, radiographs, and may also require bronchoscopy with sample collection for cytology and bacterial culture and sensitivity. Treatment includes the use of one or more antibiotics that ideally would be selected using the results of a culture. Affected dogs may also require hospitalization and supportive care including intravenous fluids. Prognosis is good to guarded depending on the presence of predisposing factors.

  • Dogs appear to be more susceptible to blastomycosis than many other species. The blastomycosis fungus seems to target the respiratory tract, although it may spread throughout the entire body. Cytology and/or histopathology are required to diagnose blastomycosis conclusively. Itraconazole is the preferred drug of treatment for most dogs. Prognosis is good for many cases of blastomycosis infection with recovery rates between 50-75%.

  • Botulism is a rare condition that can cause paralysis in cats. It is caused by ingesting the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that can grow on raw meat and dead animals. The toxin can cause muscle paralysis and lead to death. It is difficult to diagnose and there is no vaccine available, although an antitoxin is available if the condition is identified before signs develop.

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