Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelid. In most cases, the inflammation affects the outer two layers of the eyelids; in some cases it may spread to involve the inner lining or palpebral conjunctiva.

  • Botulism is a rare condition that can cause paralysis in cats. It is caused by ingesting the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that can grow on raw meat and dead animals. The toxin can cause muscle paralysis and lead to death. It is difficult to diagnose and there is no vaccine available, although an antitoxin is available if the condition is identified before signs develop.

  • Botulism is a rare condition that can cause paralysis in dogs. It is caused by ingesting the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that can grow on raw meat and dead animals. The toxin can cause muscle paralysis and lead to death. It is difficult to diagnose and there is no vaccine available, although an antitoxin is available if the condition is identified before signs develop.

  • Campylobacter infection or Campylobacterosis is a bacterial intestinal infection cased by Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter upsaliensis. It is a major cause of human bacterial enteritis although it is considered a normal bacterium in the intestinal tract of many animals and birds.

  • Candida albicans is a common environmental fungus that can affect the digestive tracts of birds. It is a common cause of 'sour crop' or a crop infection (ingluvitis), especially in young birds. Candida can be a primary or secondary cause of crop infections. Often, other diseases compromise the bird's immune system and predispose a bird to secondary Candida infection (candidiasis).

  • Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria from the genus Brucella. There are different species of Brucella that infect sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, dogs, and other animals.

  • Histoplasmosis is a chronic, non-contagious fungal infection caused by the soil-dwelling fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Histoplasma capsulatum is found globally and may infect both humans and animals. However, histoplasmosis is uncommon to rare in all but dogs and cats.

  • The normal lens in the eye of any animal is clear and colorless. A cataract is an increase in the density or opacity of the lens; it is often observed as whiteness within the pupil. Cataracts are often seen in canaries and less often in Amazon Parrots, African Grey Parrots, and Macaws. Cataracts decrease the visual acuity of the bird and may eventually lead to blindness.

  • Chagas disease, also known as American Trypanosomiasis, is an infection that is primarily observed in Latin America. In recent years, however, this infection has been observed at various sites in the Southern United States. Chagas disease is spread by the bite of certain insects, including the Mexican Kissing Beetle and other related insects. The clinical signs of Chagas disease are variable and non-specific. There is currently no consensus on the best method of treatment for Chagas disease.

  • Cheyletiellosis is an uncommon but highly contagious skin parasite of dogs, cats and rabbits caused by Cheyletiella spp. mites. It is also referred to as "walking dandruff" due to the appearance of the large, whitish mites as they crawl across skin and fur, and the excessive scaling that accompanies the infection.