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Infectious Diseases

  • Chlamydophilosis (psittacosis, chlamydiosis, parrot fever, ornithosis) is a common disease of birds caused by a bacterial organism called Chlamydophila psittaci. While this disease can occur in any bird, it is especially common in cockatiels, Amazon parrots, and budgerigars. Birds with chlamydophilosis exhibit a decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea, nasal or ocular discharge, a fluffed-up appearance, and breathing difficulties. Some birds can carry C. psittaci asymptomatically, spreading it to other birds (and people) through their droppings and respiratory tract secretions. Because tests for diagnosing chlamydophilosis in birds, are not 100% reliable, veterinarians will often rely on a combination of test results to formulate a diagnosis. Treatment is usually with oral or injectable doxycycline antibiotic for 45 days. In humans, this disease often causes flu-like respiratory tract signs such as fever, sweating, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, inappetence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a dry cough. Since chlamydophilosis is a zoonotic disease, all new pet birds should be examined by a bird-savvy veterinarian and have some form of testing for this disease.

  • When clinical signs of upper respiratory tract inflammation, such as sneezing or nasal and eye discharge, persist over weeks or months, or when they tend to recur at intervals of a few weeks, the condition is referred to as chronic upper respiratory tract disease. A runny or stuffed-up nose is the most common clinical sign in cats with chronic infections. There are many causes of this relatively common problem in cats. The treatment will be determined by the test results and diagnosis.

  • Coccidia are single-celled organisms that can act as a parasite after infecting your cat through the gastrointestinal tract. The most common form affecting cats, Isospora, is not a concern for infecting people, unlike Toxoplasma. They are highly resistant to environmental conditions, so cleanliness is important to prevent re-infection. Treatment is often simple with the appropriate antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian.

  • Coccidia are single-celled organisms that can act as parasites after infecting your dog through the gastrointestinal tract. The most common form affecting dogs, Isospora, is not a concern for infecting people. They are highly resistant to environmental conditions and cleanliness is important to prevent re-infection. Treatment is often simple with the appropriate antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian.

  • Conjunctivitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the tissues surrounding the eye. Feline herpesvirus conjunctivitis a form of primary conjunctivitis caused by the highly infectious feline herpesvirus (FHV-1).

  • COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Current evidence suggests that person-to-person spread is the main source of infection. While there is evidence of transmission from humans to dogs and cats, it does not appear to be a common event at this time. If you suspect that you are ill with COVID-19, you should practice the same precautions with your pet as you would with people: wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands regularly, and avoid cuddling and other close contact. If your pet needs veterinary care while you are sick with COVID-19, do not take your pet to your veterinary clinic yourself.

  • Crop infections in birds are not as common as they once were, but are still a potentially dangerous condition in all avian species. A slowing or stoppage of crop motility can be caused by bacteria, yeast and a variety of viruses. Early veterinary attention is essential to help treat this condition.

  • A cutaneous histiocytoma is a common benign (harmless) tumor of the skin in dogs, typically younger ones. Their development, appearance, diagnosis, and treatment are explained in this handout.

  • Cutaneous papillomatosis is the development of papillomas (non-cancerous growths, or warts) caused by the papillomavirus and affects many pet birds. Commonly affected species are finches, canaries, cockatiels, budgerigars, and African grey parrots. The clinical signs and treatment for this condition are explained in this handout.

  • Cytauxzoonosis is an often-fatal disease caused by a tick-borne protozoan parasite, typically found in bobcats. It is more commonly seen in the southern United States but is spreading with tick migration. It can cause anorexia, lethargy, respiratory difficulty, anemia, and jaundice. Diagnostic testing, treatment options, and preventives are described in this handout. This disease is not transmissible to dogs or humans.

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