What are the basics of avian medicine that a novice veterinary health professional should know before laying hands on the companion parrot patient? Upon completion of this learning aid, the participant will have a basic clinical understanding of avian anatomy, psittacine handling and restraint, history and physical examination, zoonotic concerns, nutrition, basic diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, as well as a few select presenting problems.
LafeberVet’s list of avian medicine links will assist your navigation of some of the avian medicine resources on LafeberVet. Educate yourself before laying hands on the avian patient by reviewing the basics of avian anatomy and physiology as well as important principles of handling and restraint. Then explore content on the examination and history, behavior, housing and nutrition, as well as supportive care techniques, diagnostics, basic therapeutics, and common presenting problems. Start with content listed in the rows titled, “Begin with…”, then expand your knowledge with other sections, such as “Learn more…”.
The raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis is widespread in raccoons in North America, however this parasite has also been introduced to Europe and Asia. Use this client education handout to increase awareness of this zoonotic pathogen in caretakers of young children, home owners living in areas where raccoons might be present, as well as workers exposed to raccoons or their feces during the course of their day. This handout provides simple tips that can be used to curb infection caused by the raccoon roundworm, emphasizing avoidance and prevention of exposure to infective eggs.
This zoonotic concern article reviews Baylisascaris procyonis or the raccoon roundworm. Baylisascaris procyonis exhibits a typical ascarid life cycle with adult female worms in the raccoon intestine depositing eggs that are shed in the raccoon feces. Humans can serve as paratenic or accidental hosts of B. procyonis, however more than 150 species of free-ranging and captive wildlife, zoo animals, and domestic animals have also been afflicted. When infective eggs are ingested by paratenic hosts, Baylisascaris larvae can migrate through the brain, eye, and other organs, causing serious health issues. Who is most at risk? What strategies can be implemented to prevent exposure to infective roundworm eggs?
Zoonoses are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, and some estimate that 75% of emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic. Many of these zoonoses come from non-domestic animals. This RACE-approved webinar recording presented by Marcy Souza, DVM, MPH MPPA, DABVP (Avian), DACVPM provided an overview of common zoonoses associated with non-domestic or exotic pets, including but not limited to salmonellosis, influenza, chlamydiosis, monkeypox, rabies, and various parasitic diseases. Recent outbreaks of zoonoses in exotic pets and people are also highlighted. Dr. Souza also discusses the potential role of non-domestic species in the emergence and/or transmission of novel pathogens in the future.
Although birds are kept for a variety of reasons, many owners raise backyard chickens for personal consumption of meat and eggs. There is some concerns that poultry can be exposed to heavy metals, such as lead, and then pass lead on to people in their eggs or meat. Poultry are most commonly exposed to lead through soil that has been contaminated by lead-based paint flakes that have come off older buildings or even…
Although keeping backyard poultry can be enjoyable, owners should be aware that healthy birds can sometimes carry harmful germs that make people sick. Public health concerns linked to backyard poultry include infection caused by Salmonella spp., E. coli, Campylobacter spp., and avian influenza. These germs can cause a variety of illnesses in people, ranging from minor skin infections to serious illnesses that can cause death. High-risk individuals include children less than 5 years of age, adults over 65 years of age, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. Whether the owner is building their very first coop or is a seasoned backyard poultry owner, this client handout provide tips on simple things that can be done to stay healthy.
According to LitCovid, an open-resource literature hub developed with the support of the US National Institute of Health, over 14,000 relevant articles have been posted to PubMed on the 2019 novel coronavirus. Thousands more articles are available as pre-prints. Obviously this explosion of information can be intimidating for the busy veterinarian, but you can use the national and international resources (listed in Table) to stay current on the latest information. Then turn to this review article and our supplemental LafeberVet Literature Search as well as LafeberVet’s Coronavirus in Animals and Determinants of Viral Infectionto dive a bit deeper into our evolving knowledge of SARS-CoV-2.
Over 14,000 articles have been posted to PubMed on the 2019 novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. Thousands more articles are available as pre-prints. Obviously this explosion of information can be intimidating for the busy veterinarian, but you can use the resources listed in Table 1 to stay current on the latest information. Then turn to […]
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses named for the crown-like spike proteins on their surface. Coronaviruses cause disease in humans and animals, often circulating among camels, cats, and bats. Ferrets are susceptible to infection by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-COv-1), but pathogenicity and host susceptibility can differ based on the viral infective dose and laboratory SARS coronavirus strain. Studies are ongoing to investigate the respiratory pathology and transmission of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in experimental ferrets.
What determines the viral host range?
One of the critical determinants of viral host range is the interaction between the coronavirus spike (S) protein (Fig 1) and the host cell receptor. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor for the attachment and uptake of the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1), is widely expressed […]
Ferrets are susceptible to several strains of human influenza virus, which is spread through the air from coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory secretions. The virus is not only spread from human to ferret, but ferret to ferret and from ferret to human as well. Share this handout with owners to educate them on measures to keep their furry family member healthy as well as the appearance of influenza virus in the ferret.
Shared by a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, this veterinary hospital animal bite or scratch checklist provides guidance for the individual as well as the supervisor or clinician in charge. There are also recommendations for care of the animal inflicting the bite or scratch.
Psittacosis or ornithosis is caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, an obligate intracellular bacterial infection of birds. Chlamydophila psittaci may be excreted in feces and oculonasal discharge. Chlamydophila is environmentally labile but remains infectious for months in organic debris. Latently infected birds appear healthy but shed the organism intermittently for months to years. Stressors such as breeding, shipping, crowding, or climatic extremes may activate shedding.
Individuals that work or live with birds may be at risk for zoonotic diseases. An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States.
Diarrhea is the most common problem in pet hamsters. In a recent survey of two large American commercial breeding facilities, approximately 3% of shipped hamsters develop diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by enterocolitis can occur in hamsters of any age or breed and is commonly known as “wet-tail”. Clinical signs in weanlings usually include diarrhea, anorexia, ruffled hair, dehydration, weight loss, and death. The mortality rate is often highest in…
An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States. Clinical signs typically follows a 5 to 14 day incubation period. Disease ranges from subclinical to systemic illness with severe pneumonia. Most people demonstrate sudden onset fever, headache, malaise, and myalgia with a non-productive cough that can be accompanied by breathing difficulty and chest tightness. Splenomegaly and…
Encephalitozoon cuniculi is an obligatory intracellular microsporidian parasite that can infect a wide range of mammals, including humans. The primary host for E. cuniculi is the rabbit and infections in rabbits are typically subclinical. This zoonotic concern article reviews transmission and clinical disease in humans.
Although fungal disease is uncommon in small mammals, dermatophytosis is the most common mycosis seen in clinical practice. Despite the low incidence of clinical disease, rodents are common asymptomatic carriers of dermatophytes. Fungal pathogens are generally more important for their zoonotic potential. Rodents are frequently asymptomatic carriers of ringworm, and transmission of disease to human caretakers is not uncommon.
Most reptiles are asymptomatic carriers of Salmonella spp., which can be spread through direct or indirect contact with the reptile or its droppings. This brief zoonotic concern article asks: How is Salmonella transmitted to humans? Who is most at risk? What are the signs of salmonellosis in human patients? And how can reptile-associated salmonellosis be prevented?
Tularemia is a highly pathogenic disease of animals and humans that has been reported throughout the northern hemisphere including North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States, naturally occurring infections have been reported in all states except Hawaii. This brief review article answers several questions. What species are most commonly affected by tularemia? How do humans contract tularemia? What are the signs of tularemia in humans, and what can be done to prevent exposure?
The physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership have been well established, however close contact with pets is not without risks including the potential for transmission of zoonotic disease. Rodents can carry a number of potential pathogens including lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is found throughout the world in wild rodents. Disease is especially common in…
More than 200 diseases are zoonotic or common to animals and humans. Veterinary staff members are continually exposed to animals that potentially carry infectious disease. This risk is an acceptable one as long as the risk is known, understood, and preventive measures are taken. These preventive measures are fairly straightforward and include…
It is important for animal health care professionals to recognize the potential hazards of working with passerine birds so that appropriate measures can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting disease. Wild bird isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype typhimurium may not represent a large zoonotic risk to the general population, however the vast majority of sick and dying songbirds harbor this microbe.
Unlike many waterfowl species, Canada geese tend to travel further from water to feed. In turn, this allows birds to spread their feces over large areas. While feeding, one Canada goose can produce approximately one dropping per minute. Total daily fecal production may reach approximately 2 pounds or more of waste per goose.
October 21st is Reptile Awareness Day. Although Reptile Awareness Day was founded with the worthy goal of exploring the ecological challenges that reptiles face, celebrate with LafeberVet by taking our quiz that focuses on clinical information. Are you aware of these reptile-centric facts that will benefit you, your staff, and of course your reptile patients?
“Simply having a reptile in the household increases the risk of Salmonella spp. infection”. Learn who is most at risk and what you can do to minimize your family’s risk of contracting disease.
Psittacosis is an infectious disease of birds and people caused by Chlamydia psittaci. This client education handout discusses types of birds commonly associated with human psittacosis, persons at risk as well as details of psittacosis in humans and birds and measures to prevent disease.
A public health guide on bats and rabies by Bat Conservation International.
Use this client education handout to answer the following questions: What is bird flu? What are the signs of disease in birds? What are the signs of avian influenza in humans? And why are some strains of bird flu cause for international concern?
Avian influenza or “bird flu” is a group of viral infections that occur naturally among birds. Some wild birds like waterfowl can carry influenza viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. Infected birds shed flu virus in saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Other birds may be easily infected when they come into direct contact with secretions from infected birds or…
All mammals are considered to be susceptible to rabies although susceptibility appears to vary by species and viral variant. Rabies is exceedingly rare among small wild mammals and exotic pets. Among rodents in the United States, rabies is most commonly reported in…
Backyard or hobby flocks consist of meat and game birds; or ornamental or show birds. This review article, co-authored by poultry veterinarian, Teresa Morishita, offers tips on the basic clinical approach to backyard poultry as well as differential diagnosis lists for common clinical problems. Conditions commonly encountered in backyard chickens and turkeys often include endoparasites, like Eimeria spp., pasteurellosis or fowl cholera, mycoplasmosis, staphylococcosis, and colibacillosis. Diseases important for public health concerns, such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease, are also discussed.
Most species of mites are host-specific, however take special precautions, such as wearing exam gloves, to minimize the spread of potentially zoonotic pathogens. Humans that become infested with Sarcoptes scabei may develop wheals, vesicles, papules, and intense pruritus. Pet owners, especially children, may become infected with…
Neurologic diseases are relatively common in companion rabbits, and recognition of these conditions by the exotic animal clinician is very important. Encephalitozoonosis is endemic in the pet rabbit population worldwide, and is an important cause of neurologic disease in this species.
Fungi are among the most common causes of infectious disease in captive birds, and fungal diseases can be challenging to diagnose, as well as treat. Because fungi are typically opportunistic, causing non-contagious disease in susceptible individuals, prevention and treatment require an understanding of etiology as well as predisposing factors.