Some 2.5% of U.S. cats have the feline immunodeficiency virus, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus. Although FIV-infected cats can have a normal lifespan, they are often plagued with oral and ocular disease, neurological problems, bone marrow malfunction and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as ringworm, toxoplasmosis and upper respiratory infections, adds Dr. Hohenhaus. Testing cats for FIV, keeping cats indoors and having at-risk cats vaccinated for FIV are some ways owners can help prevent the spread of the disease.
Zoo Atlanta has temporarily closed its parakeet exhibit after staff identified psittacosis in a bird that died. The zoo will test the rest of the flock and clean the exhibit before it is opened again. Psittacosis, also called ornithosis or parrot fever, is transmitted to humans exposed to feces or debris from infected birds. Symptoms are usually mild in people and include fever, headache, chills and respiratory infections.
Jeanna Giese, who contracted rabies and recovered without a vaccine as a teenager and was a Make-A-Wish Foundation beneficiary, is participating in a sled dog race in Wisconsin to raise money for the charity. "After rabies, I thought sports were out of my life, but dog sledding is one of the sports I can do," Giese said. "I love it." Giese is the only person known to have survived the infection without a vaccine.
Plastic bumpers used to train retrieving dogs appear to leach bisphenol A and phthalates, according to research from Texas Tech University. The researchers found that bumpers exposed to artificial dog saliva and simulated chewing released the chemicals. It's not known whether the compounds put dogs at risk of any health problems.
More dogs get regular veterinary care than cats, writes veterinarian Barry Burtis. He suggests many factors contribute, including cats' general aversion to traveling in carriers, owners' mistaken belief that indoor cats don't need regular veterinary care and the feline ability to mask symptoms. Dr. Burtis emphasizes the connection between regular veterinary care and optimum health for cats.