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Infectious Diseases

  • 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.

  • Pythiosis is the result of being infected by a water mold called Pythium insidiosum. This organism can affect the gastrointestinal tract or the skin.

  • As in humans, this is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a spirochete organism called Treponema cuniculi. It is a different spirochete from the human Treponema pallidium. Humans cannot get this particular organism from a rabbit.

  • There are 4 major infectious diseases seen in pet rabbits. Two serious diseases caused by viruses may occur in rabbits, although they are rarely seen in indoor pets. They are myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease.

  • Rabies is a viral disease that can infect all warm-blooded animals, including cats and people, although some species are somewhat naturally resistant to the disease. When signs of rabies occur, it is an almost invariably fatal disease.

  • Rabies is one of the most devastating viral diseases affecting mammals, including dogs and humans. It is a fatal disease caused by infection with the rabies virus. Rabies virus is found throughout the world, including North America, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Europe. Following a bite from a rabid animal, the disease progresses in stages. Dumb rabies is the more common form in dogs. There is progressive paralysis involving the limbs, distortion of the face and a similar difficulty in swallowing. Vaccination is the cornerstone of rabies prevention.

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