Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Parvo, or canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a relatively new disease that appeared for the first time in dogs in 1978. Because of the severity of the disease and its rapid spread through the canine population, CPV has aroused a great deal of public interest. Two slightly different strains of canine parvovirus, named CPV-2a and CPV-2b, are recognized. They cause the same disease and vaccines give protection against both.

  • The Ebola virus is very contagious and is transmitted through blood, body fluids and tissues, but not through air, water, or food. Ebola affects humans, non-human primates, and is carried by fruit bats. Other species do not appear to be affected although there has been evidence of exposure to the disease in dogs, cats, and other domestic animals. Domestic animals are not believed to transmit the virus; however, there is a risk that they could transmit body fluids such as saliva on their fur to other humans. Any potential exposure to Ebola should be reported to your veterinarian who will contact the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

  • COVID-19 is a human respiratory disease that was initially discovered late in 2019. This disease is caused by a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that has not previously been identified in humans. Physical distancing, or social distancing, is one of the most effective strategies available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While physical distancing, walking your dog is fine as long as you are feeling well and can remain at least 6 feet away from other people. If you have cats, find new ways to play with them indoors. Many veterinary clinics are adjusting their policies to reflect physical distancing guidance related to COVID-19. If your pet needs veterinary care (or if you need to pick up medication, a prescription diet, etc.), call your veterinary hospital first to determine how to proceed.

  • The polyomavirus of pet birds belongs to the family Papovavirus, the same group of viruses that causes benign skin tumors (papillomas or warts) in birds. Polyomavirus can cause benign feather lesions in budgies (the so-called French molt or Budgerigar Fledgling disease) or acute death.

  • Poxviruses can infect many species of birds, and each species of bird may have its own unique species of pox virus (mynah bird pox, canary pox, parrot pox, etc.). Poxviruses can cause several different clinical syndromes, depending upon what part of the body is infected.

  • Feline poxvirus is a relative of human smallpox virus seen mainly in Asia, Europe, and England. It mainly causes skin lesions around the head, neck, or forelimb such as ulcerations, scabs, or abscesses. Cats often recover on their own with no further symptoms unless they are immunocompromised. There is no specific treatment or vaccine. Antibiotics may be used to control secondary infections. The virus can be transmitted to humans, usually causing single lesions on the hand or face, but sometimes also causes fever or headache.

  • This disease was first described in Australian cockatoos in the early 1970's. Since that time, the disease has infected over 50 different species of birds. The virus causing the disease works slowly. The disease is often called "Bird AIDS" due to some similarities between it and the human disease of AIDS.

  • Pythiosis is the result of being infected by a water mold called Pythium insidiosum. This organism can affect the gastrointestinal tract or the skin.

  • As in humans, this is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a spirochete organism called Treponema cuniculi. It is a different spirochete from the human Treponema pallidium. Humans cannot get this particular organism from a rabbit.

  • Rabies is a viral disease that can infect all warm-blooded animals, including cats and people, although some species are somewhat naturally resistant to the disease. When signs of rabies occur, it is an almost invariably fatal disease.