Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Kennel cough is a broad term covering any infectious or contagious condition of dogs where coughing is one of the major clinical signs. It is also referred to as infectious tracheobronchitis. Several viruses and bacteria can cause kennel cough, often at the same time. Because the infection spreads when dogs are housed together, it is often seen soon after dogs have been in kennels, hence the name "kennel cough."

  • While many owners believe parasites are common causes of skin disorders and feather loss in birds, this is usually not the case. However, Knemidokoptic mange, also called “cere mites” or “scaly face” is a relatively common disorder, particularly in some of the smaller species of birds.

  • Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite found in dogs and certain rodents in many parts of the world, most commonly in rural areas. The parasite is transmitted by a small biting sand fly (Phlebotomus spp.). It is an important disease because humans can also contract Leishmaniasis.

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver or kidneys. Leptospires are known as "aquatic spirochetes": the organism thrives in water and they have a helical or spiral shape with a characteristic hook on one or both ends.

  • Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints.

  • Pacheco’s disease is caused by a herpes virus. Many species of birds are susceptible. Cockatoos and Amazon parrots are very susceptible to the infection and usually die, whereas conures, such as the Nanday and Patagonian Conures seem to be resistant to the disease.

  • The papilloma virus causes non-cancerous tumors (warts) in many pet birds. The virus belongs to the family papovavirus, the same family as the polyoma virus, which also infects birds.

  • 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.

  • Here are a few facts about Ebola that will provide a reasonable approach to the disease and its risk to pets and their owners.

  • 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.