Keeping a wild animal as a pet is dangerous for both the animal and for people, according to Steve Nifong of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, discussing the confiscation of a deer being kept in a home. The owners had posted footage of the deer romping in the house, near children and dogs, on the Internet. Such animals are difficult, if not impossible, to release into the wild once they're older because of their upbringing.
Public health experts predict that another zoonotic pandemic is on the horizon and say it is simply a question of when and where it surfaces. "The continuing effect of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a reminder of the risk of zoonotic pathogens spreading from their natural reservoirs to man," veterinarian William Karesh wrote in a series of articles in the Lancet focusing on zoonoses. Organizations are working to improve detection of emerging diseases, but there are many challenges, including the increasing risk of transmission as the growing urban population brings people into closer contact with animals.
Asthma occurs when an allergen incites airway inflammation, resulting in varying levels of respiratory distress, more commonly in cats than in dogs, according to veterinarian Bernhard Pukay. Some cats experience mild symptoms such as coughing fits that resolve on their own, while others can have severe reactions that progress to panting and even death in rare cases, writes Dr. Pukay. X-rays help to make the diagnosis of asthma and rule out other conditions. Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms, according to Dr. Pukay, who points out that some cats may only need monitoring while others require medication.
The Lincoln Park Zoo's Serengeti Health Initiative provides rabies vaccinations for dogs of families in towns on the periphery of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The program was budgeted at $110,000 last year, but donations have helped offset the cost to the zoo.
Veterinarians at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine's Leatherdale Equine Center are treating one of five horses that were apparently infected with equine herpesvirus. EHV, which affects the spinal cord and brain and can be fatal, caused outbreaks throughout the country last year, with 75 confirmed cases in nine states in just one month. In the Minnesota cases, one horse was euthanized, one is hospitalized and the remaining three are at home.