Library

Infectious Diseases

  • Cytauxzoonosis is an often-fatal disease caused by a tick-borne protozoan parasite, typically found in bobcats. It is more commonly seen in the southern United States but is spreading with tick migration. It can cause anorexia, lethargy, respiratory difficulty, anemia, and jaundice. Diagnostic testing, treatment options, and preventives are described in this handout. This disease is not transmissible to dogs or humans.

  • Diarrhea is a symptom of an underlying problem that may be minor or very serious. Some cases may resolve on their own or with minimal treatment, while other cases require in-depth diagnostic testing and more aggressive treatment to address the underlying condition. The possible causes, diagnostic tests, and treatment protocols for diarrhea in cats are numerous and they are explained in this handout.

  • Diarrhea is a symptom of an underlying problem that may be minor or very serious. Some cases may resolve on their own or with minimal treatment, while other cases require in-depth diagnostic testing and more aggressive treatment to address the underlying condition. The possible causes, diagnostic tests, and treatment protocols for diarrhea in dogs are numerous and are explained in this handout.

  • 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.

  • Encephalitozoonsis is a parasitic infection that can affect the kidneys, eyes, and nervous systems of rabbits. Many infected rabbits do not develop clinical signs until they are older or if they become stressed or immunocompromised. Common signs that may develop include heavy white plaques/growths inside one or both eyes, head tilt, eye twitching, and tremors or seizures. Treatments are available, though not all rabbits respond.

  • Famciclovir is given by mouth and is used off-label to control feline herpesvirus. Give as directed. Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and increased drinking and urination. Do not use it in pets that are allergic to it or penciclovir. If a negative reaction occurs, call your veterinary office.

  • 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.