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Infectious Diseases

  • 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.

  • There are four Herpesviruses that are widespread in the horse environment and that are associated with a variety of disease syndromes in horses. They are called Equid Herpesviruses 1, 2, 3 and 4 (EHV-1, EHV-2, EHV-3 and EHV-4).

  • Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), sometimes called 'swamp fever' is an infectious disease that causes acute, chronic or symptomless illness, characterized by fever, anemia, swelling and weight loss in horses, ponies, mules and donkeys.

  • EVA is a highly contagious disease that can cause a 'flu-like' illness of varying severity and occasionally abortion or even death in horses. It is found in many different parts of the world and is endemic (widespread) in many continental European horse populations.

  • 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.

  • 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.