Other Species


Disease Name:Campylobacter spp.
Agent: especially jejuni, sometimes coli. Gram negative, microaerophilic, curved rod. Some strain variation in pathogenicity. Non-pathogenic species also exist.
Clinical Signs and significance: Animals - Usually asymptomatic. Disease more frequently documented in dogs than cats: watery mucoid diarrhea, +/- blood. Systemic signs may be seen (fever, leukocytosis, inappetance, vomiting).  Disease usually lasts 3-7 days, occasionally may be chronic or intermittent. Uncommon sole cause of disease in cats, especially > 6 months old; look for concurrent infections or other problems.
Humans - Include abdominal pain, cramps, fever, chills, and diarrhea (which are frequently bloody).
Susceptible domestic species Cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, livestock, poultry and many others
Zoonotic? Yes. Most human cases acquired from undercooked meat but transmission from pets may also occur.
Prevalence Estimates from 1-6% of pet and shelter cats in several recent surveys in the U.S., up to 40-50% in some studies. Many studies have shown no association with diarrhea, but other sources have reported higher frequency in diarrheic animals.
Risk factors Age (< 6 months), stressors such as surgery.
Diagnostic aids:Stained smear: Insert moistened cotton swab 3-4 cm into rectum. Roll gently on slide. Air dry. Stain with diffquick. Neutrophils suggest bacterial infection (Salmonella or Campy). Gull forms suggest Campylobacter spp.Culture: Notify lab if campylobacter is suspected. Microareophilic culture required. Lab may suggest special transport media to enhance culture viability. Transport fresh sample promptly to lab to maximize results. Campylobacter is somewhat fragile; false negative results can occur if sample handling is compromised.
Test comments Non-pathogenic Campylobacter species may be seen on slide; lab may report results as culture negative in that case. Assorted spirochetes can look like gull forms.
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral, food and water borne, fomites
Disinfection Routine disinfection is adequate
Incubation ~ 3-5 days
Post-recovery shedding Indefinite in untreated
Carrier state? Yes
Specific treatment Macrolides (erythromycin or azithromycin) usually drug of choice, treatment for three weeks recommended. Resistance is common to penicillins and trimethoprim. Culture and sensitivity may be required in persistent infections.
PPE required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Disease Name:Giardiasis
Agent: Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. intestinalis, G. lamblia)
Infective forms: Exists as intestinal trophozoite form and as an infective cyst
Susceptible domestic species Cats, dogs, and most domestic species
Zoonotic? Humans are much more likely to be infected with Giardia from a contaminated water source than from an infected pet (a.k.a. Beaver fever). However, it is known that the same species of Giardia can infect domestic animals and humans, so precautions should be taken when handling infected animals.
Clinical Signs & Symptoms Animals - Diarrhea, chronic weight loss, and pale, malodorous feces. Even animals with no obvious symptoms can carry Giardia.
Human - Some people experience no symptoms, typical symptoms include mild or severe diarrhea, abdominal pain and occasional weight loss. Fever is rarely present.
Diagnostic tests:Direct smearZinc flotation with centrifugationFlotation without centrifugationIdexx ELISA SNAP test
Test sensitivity~ 50% on diarrheic feces~75% on 3 samples over 5 daysPoor (probably <10%)85-90%
Test specificityMust distinguish from T. foetus in catsGood, if able to distinguish from coccidia, yeast, etc. 95-99%
Test commentsMust be fresh sampleCyst shedding is intermittent – must sample repeatedlyTest is essentially not recommended for giardiaCan test + for up to 2 weeks following + treatment
Other tests: There are several other tests available from laboratories. The ProspectT microplate ELISA and FA tests are good; please call your lab for details on the tests and on their specificities/sensitivities. (The ProspectT RAPID assay is less sensitive.)
Prevalence in shelters: Cats: 10-30% (up to 100% in some catteries)
Dogs: 20-40% (up to 100% in some kennels)
Vaccine available? Yes, however it is not recommended as it has not been proven to be effective.
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral either directly or indirectly, e.g. fecal contaminated water or food.
Disinfection Cysts can exist for months in a moist/cool environment. Drying of kennels also helps in between disinfection. Does not survive freezing. Mechanical removal through routine cleaning and disinfection is most effective.
Incubation Average prepatent period is 8 days in dogs, 10 days in cats. Onset of disease (if it occurs) may precede cyst shedding by 1-2 days.
Post-recovery shedding Shedding may still occur even after disease is treated. It is advisable to retest animal at the end of treatment and then again several weeks later.
Carrier state? YES. Most infections in otherwise healthy adult animals are asymptomatic. Self cure is possible as is chronic shedding.
Treatment &prevention of outbreaks: Fenbendazole (panacur); Febental/pyrantel/praziquantel (Drontal Plus); Metronidazole (less effective and resistance is possible). Reinfection is common so decontamination of the environment in shelters is paramount.
PPE required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Control Bathing can also help decrease cyst load found on fur.
Disease Name: Psittacosis (Avian Chlamydiosis)
Agent: Chlamydophila psittaci
Clinical Signs: Birds: Many infected birds remain asymptomatic until they become stressed. The clinical signs may include lethargy, shivering, weight loss, breathing difficulties and diarrhea.
Humans: The disease varies from a mild, flu–like illness which may include fever, chills, cough, weakness or fatigue, muscle and chest pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, sweating or abnormal intolerance to light.
Susceptible domestic species Birds (wild/domestic), poultry, humans Occasionally reported in other mammals including dogs, cats, horses, cattle and muskrats
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Can be diagnosed by culture. A combination of techniques may be necessary. Easier to make a diagnosis in birds that are acutely ill.
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Unknown
Test specificity (false positives) Unknown
Vaccine available? No
Excreted in : Infection is acquired by inhaling dried secretions from infected birds, including contaminated feces and nasal discharge.
Mode of transmission: Birds: Can be transmitted between birds by the inhalation of infectious dust or airborne particles such as feathers and by ingestion of infectious material including carcasses. Also found in respiratory and oral secretions.
Humans: Usually become infected after inhaling contaminated dust, feathers or aerosolized secretions and excretions. Direct contact with infected birds, including bites, can also spread the disease. Rare cases of person–to–person transmission have been reported.
Disinfection Routine disinfection after thorough cleaning is adequate. Disinfectants include accelerated hydrogen peroxide (Accel, Peroxigard Plus), potassium peroxymonosulfate (Virkon, Trifectant), or chlorine bleach (1:32 dilution).
Incubation Birds and Humans: can be as long as one month, but most infections become symptomatic in 5-14 days.
Post-recovery shedding / Carrier state? Yes. In carriers, active disease can occur any time, and may be seen years after infection. Some birds carry the organism asymptomatically, and can shed it intermittently for long periods (weeks to months). Shedding can be stimulated by concurrent infections or stressors such as nutritional deficiencies, handling, overcrowding or egg laying.
Treatment Birds: Antibiotics can be used to treat avian chlamydiosis, but some birds may remain infected. Prolonged treatment, with isolation of the bird, is necessary. Humans: Tetracycline antibiotics combined with supportive care. 
PPE Required Gloves, gown, mask (N95)
Control New birds should be examined for signs of illness, cages should be positioned so that nothing including feces, food or feathers is readily transferred between them. Cross-contamination between areas or units should be minimized. Good exhaust ventilation can help reduce the build-up of aerosols and prevent cross-contamination.
Disease Name:Salmonellosis
Agent: Some strain variation in pathogenicity
Clinical signs and significance Animals - Asymptomatic. Can cause fever, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea with or without blood and mucus. In severe cases leading to septicemia and death, these cases can resemble panleukopenia or parvo. Cats that prey on birds may develop song bird fever causing severe often bloody diarrhea following ingestion of infected birds
Humans - Abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, can cause severe and occasionally fatal disease in very young children and immune-compromised individuals.
Susceptible domestic species Reptiles, dogs, cats, birds, and livestock.
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Fecal culture  
Test sensitivity (false negatives) High  
Test specificity (false positives) High  
Test Comments Intermittent shedding is possible so three negative fecal cultures at two-week intervals are required to call an animal free of salmonella.
Vaccine available? No
Vaccine efficacy N/A
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Transmission between animals by fecal-oral spread directly, in contaminated water, food or on fomites such as food dishes and grooming implements. Free roaming cats and dogs are at increased risk for exposure. Spread from infected humans to animals is possible. Transmission to humans by fecal-oral route from surfaces, food and water contaminated by feces, or handling of infected animals, especially reptiles. Most common source is food borne but infected animals are significant risk.
Disinfection Commonly used disinfectants. Routine hygiene and sanitation. Hand washing after handling reptiles or any animal with diarrhea is mandatory.
Incubation 8-72 hours in people
Post-recovery shedding Can persist as long as six weeks after clinical recovery. Up to 90% of reptiles are asymptomatic, chronic carriers.
Carrier state? Yes
Treatment Can be self limiting, may require antibiotics, fluid and electrolyte replacement.
PPE Required Gloves, gowns and impermeable shoe covers