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Ok, local transmission of monkeypox wasn’t on my 2022 bingo card, but I guess we’re learning to expect the unexpected. I talk about monkeypox commonly when discussing zoonotic diseases, especially those associated with importation of animals, something that was highlighted a few years ago with an outbreak in the US. However, that’s always focused on zoonotic (animal-to-human) spread. The current situation is making us think about some other issues and spillback of monkeypox virus into…
As the unprecedented outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza continues in North America, there are various concerns about where this outbreak is going and the threats to other species….domestic and wild mammals, and people (us being just another ‘domestic animal’).  My inbox is filled with questions about various concerns and scenarios. The one I’ll address today is about risks to vet clinics that treat backyard poultry. Backyard poultry are increasingly common in many areas and, since…
As the unprecedented outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza continues in North America, there are numerous concerns about where the outbreak is heading and threats to other species, including domestic and wild mammals, and people (the latter being just another “domestic mammal”).  My inbox is filled with questions about different concerns and scenarios. The one I’ll address today is about risks to veterinary clinics that treat backyard poultry. Backyard poultry are increasingly common in many areas. …
H5N1 influenza was recently found in two wild fox kits in St. Marys, Ontario. It’s a pretty noteworthy event given the scope of the current H5N1 issue and the fact it’s the first identification of H5N1 flu in wild mammals in Ontario. The kits were from a wildlife rehabilitation centre. (Rehab centres are great sources of information about emerging wildlife diseases and can bear the brunt of issues). One of the kits was found…
As the world tries to (prematurely) transition back to some semblance of normalcy (or at least what used to be “normal”), it’s a challenge to figure out what changes to make, and when. There will never be agreement between everybody. Some want full reversion to “normal” now, some want third-wave-level restrictions until further notice… like most things, there’s presumably a sweet spot in the middle. I won’t try to address that particularly contentious area (I…
As the world tries to (prematurely) transition back to more semblance of normalcy, it’s a challenge to figure out what changes to make, and when. There will never be agreement. Some want full reversion to ‘normal’ now, some want 3rd wave-level restrictions until further notice and, like most things, there’s presumably a sweet spot in the middle. I won’t try to address that contentious area (I get enough hate mail as it is). I’ll stick…
An article from Thailand entitled Superbugs lurk in local food systems came into my inbox the other day. There’s nothing really new in it, but it has some talking points that are commonly used (and sometimes misused) when we discuss and debate antimicrobial use (AMU) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in food animals. Below, I break down various statements, not really to defend, support or criticize, but hopefully to show some of the complexities and challenges…
Concerns about animal aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic come in waves. Most of the time they are ignored or dismissed, then there are periodic flurries of attention and (often over-) reaction. Questions about vaccination of animals follow a similar pattern and have been on the rise lately. So, should be we lining up domestic and wild animals for vaccination? Yes, no and maybe…but mainly no. To properly assess this question, we need to step back…
We’ve come a long way in terms of medical diagnostic technology in recent years. It’s now cheap and easy to identify a wide range of viruses and bacteria, including some we’ve never seen before. However, our ability to find pathogens has outpaced our ability to understand the role they may (or may not) play in disease. So, we end up in lots of situations where someone finds a “new” pathogen and we have to figure…
One thing we’ve been watching for with SARS-CoV-2 in animals is whether we will see establishment of “animal” variants. Humans have done an effective job of infecting a wide variety of animal species with this primarily-human virus. Fortunately, thus far these infections usually die out rapidly in that animal or group of animals (mink being a notable exception). In that scenario, the broader implications of spillover into animals are limited, because there’s not enough long-term…