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Infectious Diseases

  • There are four major infectious diseases seen in pet rabbits. Myxomatosis is spread by bites from mosquitoes, flies, fur mites, and fleas and can also be acquired from injuries caused by contaminated thorns or thistles. Subcutaneous swelling extends around the eyes, ears, and genital region and can progress to skin hemorrhages, breathing difficulties, decreased to no appetite, fever, generalized skin tumors, and death. Viral hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by direct contact with infected rabbits, rodents, and contaminated cages, dishes, and clothing. If signs are present, they include decreased appetite, fever, lethargy, collapse, convulsions, coma, difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth, bloody nasal discharge, and death. Encephalitozoonosis causes a latent condition in rabbits. When signs do develop, the affected rabbit may develop dense white cataracts in one or both eyes, a head tilt, nystagmus, lack of appetite, difficulty walking, uncontrollable rolling over in one direction, tremors, and seizures. Pasteurellosis commonly causes abscesses, respiratory infections, and chronic inflammatory disease in rabbits. It can infect the nasolacrimal ducts, eyes, ears, and nose, and can cause abscesses of tooth roots, bones (particularly the jaw), skin, tissues under the skin, and internal organs.

  • Hepatitis is defined as inflammation of the liver. As a specific disease, infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a viral infection. The hepatitis virus is present in the urine, as well as in the nose and eye discharges of infected animals and the virus is transmitted by direct contact with these infected materials. In the mild form the dog may merely have a decreased appetite, appear depressed, and have a mild fever. Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and giving time for the dog's immune system to respond. Vaccination has been very successful at reducing the prevalence of this disease.

  • This handout is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your cat. Intestinal worms can be a serious problem in young kittens. Heartworm disease is a major life-threatening problem in dogs, and is increasingly recognized as a threat to cats. Speak to your veterinarian about the most appropriate parasite control program for your cat.

  • 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 serious condition spread by flies that can affect dogs, cats, and people. It can severely damage the internal organs or skin and even with treatment, the outcome is often not successful.

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver or kidneys. The bacteria (Leptospira) that cause leptospirosis, commonly called leptospires, thrive in water. Infected or recovered carrier dogs may act as a source of the infection. There are three main forms of the disease. Antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin, and amoxicillin, are reasonably effective against the acute stages of leptospirosis if begun early, although most affected dogs require intensive care in the veterinary hospital.

  • Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Leptospira. The disease causes serious damage to the kidney and liver, and may be fatal in severe cases. Severely infected dogs show signs of lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and increased thirst and urination. Dogs may develop jaundice. There are several tests for diagnosing leptospirosis, but the two most common ones are the DNA-PCR test and the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). Infection can be diagnosed with either test, but each has weaknesses, and in some situations both tests may be needed to reach a diagnosis.

  • Lyme disease is a growing concern as ticks migrate. It often presents as a lameness but can also show up as kidney failure. Treatment with one of the following antibiotics doxycycline, amoxicillin, or azithromycin lasts for 4 weeks. Preventives are available to help protect your dog from this disease.

  • Melioidosis is a bacterial infection that is typically associated with tropical regions. The bacteria that causes melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is usually found in soil and water. It is introduced to these areas when it is shed in the milk, feces, urine, or wound drainage of infected animals. In dogs, melioidosis can cause a variety of clinical signs. It mimics a number of other diseases; therefore, it is sometimes referred to as the great imitator. Treatment of melioidosis requires prolonged courses of antibiotics. The organism is resistant to many antibiotics, meaning that specific, expensive antibiotics may be required.