Worms & Germs Blog

Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

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As a journal associate editor and reviewer, I’ve seen lots of papers about SARS-CoV-2 in animals. Some have been great, ground breaking papers. Many have been weak, small studies rushed out to be first, with inadequate depth and critical assessment. Some have been a complete disaster. The latter two groups are a concern beyond just being bad science. Shortcuts can lead to bad conclusions is things aren’t studied properly. A recent study (Hoppe et
I’ve written (ranted?) about this before – namely the misuse of antimicrobials intended for treatment of aquarium fish in other species. Usually such posts are followed by a deluge of nasty emails along with a bunch of curious requests for links to fish antibiotic sellers (8% kickback available!). Another sponsorship request came in this morning, prompting this rant. I guess it was a poorly programmed bot, or someone who didn’t carefully read even the title,…
The first two parts of this series covered our approaches to vaccination of ‘healthy’ animals. We focus healthy pets since they comprise the majority of the pet population. Also, vaccines are typically labelled for use in healthy pets:  “e.g. “This product is recommended for the vaccination of healthy dogs…”. It doesn’t say not to use it in ‘unhealthy’ pets, but it doesn’t give guidance. Why not? Manufacturers aren’t going to test vaccine effectiveness and safety…
Things have been pretty quick regarding monkeypox in domestic animals lately. Whether that’s because human case numbers are dropping and human-animal infection is rare, or whether it’s because there’s not enough surveillance isn’t clear. I suspect it’s a combination of the two. Our surveillance has been really slow since it’s been hard to recruit participants, but I doubt that human-pet transmission of monkeypox is very common. Regardless, uncommon doesn’t mean irrelevant. For vets, it brings…
At first glance, if you follow zoonotic diseases, you might look at the title of this post and think ‘what is he rehashing now? We know Salmonella is common in reptiles and contact with reptiles is a major risk factor for salmonellosis in people.” In large part, you’d be right. Not a lot has changed on the Salmonella-in-reptiles front, but since it’s an important issue, it doesn’t hurt to provide some updates. A recent study…
Now that human-dog transmission of monkeypox has been identified, there’s a lot more interest in what to do about animals that have been exposed to infected people. As more people get monkeypox, more animals will be exposed. We want to reduce the risk of the animals getting infected (and maybe infecting people), while at the same time not causing undue stress on the animals or people. (Big déjà vu moment here…..this is pretty much…
I’ll start this off with “don’t freak out, overhype it or be paranoid about your dog”.  (I’ll probably end with that too). A recent report in Lancet (Seang et al) describes a pretty solid case of suspected monkeypox virus (MPXV) transmission from people to their dog. Two people development moxkeypox and they owned a dog. The dog, an otherwise healthy Italian greyhound, had close contact with them, including sleeping in their bed. 12 days after…
I’ve done countless presentations and interviews about COVID and animals, and the question of whether pets can infect people always comes up. My general line has been “We know that human-pet infection is pretty common. My main concern is cats, since we know they can spread it cat-to-cat. If they can do that, it’s logical to think they could spread it cat-to-person. However, it will be tough to sort out. If a cat is infected,…
Headline writers are probably going to screw up my day tomorrow by sensationalizing this, but a new paper in Animals (Fiorito et al) describes SARS-CoV-2 infection in cattle in Italy. (It’s an MDPI journal so I take anything published there with a big grain of salt given their low standards, but this one seems ok). It’s also similar to a pre-print from Germany that we’ve known about for a while. Why do I say “take…
While we’ve learned a lot about the susceptibility of many different animal species to SARS-CoV-2, horses have been a bit of an unknown. We’ve had concerns about potential susceptibility based on the nature of the receptor the virus uses to enter host cells. However, study has been limited. A lot of that has been because people haven’t really wanted to know…I’ve run into a lot of roadblocks because people were more concerned about the implications…