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Infectious Diseases

  • 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.

  • 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 member of the Orthopoxvirus group, which also includes vaccinia virus, the virus used as a vaccine in the successful eradication of smallpox in humans. The virus cannot be distinguished from cowpox virus, which is a rare cause of infection on the teats and udders of cattle.

  • 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.

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