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Infectious Diseases

  • Crop infections in birds are not as common as they once were, but are still a potentially dangerous condition in all avian species. A slowing or stoppage of crop motility can be caused by bacteria, yeast and a variety of viruses. Early veterinary attention is essential to help treat this condition.

  • A cutaneous histiocytoma is a common benign (harmless) tumor of the skin in dogs, typically younger ones. Their development, appearance, diagnosis, and treatment are explained in this handout.

  • Cytauxzoonosis is often fatal disease spread to cats by the Lone Star tick. The disease can progress rapidly and treatments are only moderately effective. Tick control and use of preventives is the best method to prevent this disease from developing in cats.

  • Discospondylitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the intervertebral disks and the adjacent vertebral bones. It primarily affects dogs, though rarely can affect cats. It affects large breed dogs more often and generally starts clinically as back pain. The diagnosis and treatment of this condition are outlined in this handout.

  • Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks, and raccoons. It is an incurable, often fatal, multisystemic (affecting multiple organs) disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. The disease is spread mainly by direct contact between a susceptible dog and a dog showing symptoms. The main clinical signs are diarrhea, vomiting, thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose, cough and, in severe cases, seizures and neurological signs. As with most viral infections, there is no specific treatment. Fortunately we have highly effective vaccines to prevent this deadly disease.

  • Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm species that is found in the Northern Hemisphere. Dogs, cats, and humans are all susceptible to E. multilocularis infection, along with additional species. While the parasite typically produces no clinical sign in cats, it can have life-threatening effects in humans. E. multilocularis is impossible to distinguish from other tapeworm species without specialized testing, but it responds to the same dewormers that are used to treat other tapeworm species. Therefore, pets suspected of having tapeworms should be treated promptly and care should be taken to avoid direct contact with animal feces.

  • Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne bacterial (Ehrlichia) infection spread by the brown dog tick found in many areas of North America. There appear to be three stages of disease: acute, sub-clinical, and chronic or clinical. Abnormal findings on initial lab work include thrombocytopenia, anemia, hyperglobulinemia, and proteinuria. In-clinic ELISA tests can be used to screen for exposure but will be negative if the infection is new. Blood can be sent for PCR testing to demonstrate infection and to determine the species of Ehrlichia. Prevention includes minimizing exposure to ticks and use of tick prevention medication regularly.

  • Feather loss occurs either because the bird is truly losing feathers or because the bird, or its cage-mate, is picking out its feathers. Feather-picking is often a behavioral problem, especially in the larger species of birds (such as cockatoos, macaws, and African gray parrots). However, feather loss and feather-picking can also be caused by diseases that result in irritation or pain for the bird, or damage to, or inappropriate growth of feathers. Your veterinarian may have to many perform several diagnostic tests to rule out potential causes. Treatment of feather loss depends on the cause. Feather loss and feather-picking are complicated problems; for specific advice, your bird should have a thorough work-up by a veterinarian familiar with birds.

  • Fechavirus is a chapparvovirus, which is a type of parvovirus. It is a newly discovered gastrointestinal virus identified in cats in 2018. The virus was discovered during an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea among cats in three animal shelters in British Columbia, Canada. The significance of fechavirus in pet cats is unknown at this point. The most common signs associated with fechavirus are diarrhea and vomiting. If your veterinarian suspects fechavirus, your cat will receive supportive care in order to control clinical signs and prevent dehydration.

  • Feline calicivirus is a virus that is an important cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats. The typical clinical signs of an upper respiratory infection involve the nose and throat such as sneezing, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, and discharge from the nose or eyes. Cats with a calicivirus infection often develop ulcers on the tongue, hard palate, gums, lips, or nose. Calicivirus is highly contagious and infected cats can shed the virus in saliva or secretions from the nose or eyes. The standard core vaccines that are given to cats include immunization against calicivirus and will help reduce the severity of disease and shorten the length of the illness if your cat is exposed.

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