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Zoonotic Diseases Commonly Associated With Dogs and Cats


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Title: Zoonotic Diseases Commonly Associated With Dogs and Cats

Zoonotic Diseases Commonly Associated With Dogs
and Cats
Note The images in this presentation are for
non-profit, educational use only.
Neil Grove University of North Carolina Chapel
Hill Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine
What we will cover
  • We will attempt to answer the following questions
    about each zoonotic disease
  • What is it?
  • How can I get it?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What precautions or preventive measures can be
    taken to avoid acquiring it?

What diseases will we cover?
  • Toxocara
  • Sarcoptes
  • Cheyletiella
  • Rabies
  • Ringworm
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Cat Scratch Disease
  • Capnocytophaga canimorsus

Toxocariasis What is it?
  • Toxocariasis is a zoonotic infection caused by
    the parasitic roundworms commonly found in the
    intestine of dogs (Toxocara canis) and cats (T.
  • In the United States, an estimated 10,000 cases
    of Toxocara infections occur yearly in humans. (1)

  • A recent national survey of shelters revealed
    that almost 36 of dogs nationwide, and 52 of
    dogs from southeastern states harbored helminths
    capable of causing human disease. 
  • Every year at least 3,000-4,000 serum specimens
    from patients with presumptive diagnoses of
    toxocariasis are sent to the Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention (CDC), state public health
    laboratories, or private laboratories for
    serodiagnostic confirmation. (2)

How Do I get it?
  • The most common Toxocara parasite of concern to
    humans is T. canis, which puppies usually
    contract from the mother before birth or from her
  • The larvae mature rapidly in the puppys
    intestines when the pup is 3 or 4 weeks old,
    they begin to produce large numbers of eggs that
    contaminate the environment through the animals
    stool. The eggs soon develop into infective

How Do I get it?
  • You or your children can become infected after
    accidentally ingesting (swallowing) infective
    Toxocara eggs from larvae in soil or other
    contaminated surfaces.(1)
  • Eggs are extremely resistant and can remain
    viable for years.

Toxacara eggs
  • There are two major forms of toxocariasis, Ocular
    larva migrans, and Visceral larva migrans
  • 1) Ocular larva migrans (OLM)
  • An eye disease that can cause blindness.
  • OLM occurs when a microscopic worm enters the
    eye it may cause inflammation and formation of a
    scar on the retina. (1)

Elevated granuloma in toxocariasis
  • Each year more than 700 people infected with
    Toxocara experience permanent partial loss of

  • 2) Visceral larva migrans (VLM)
  • Heavier, or repeated Toxocara infections, while
    rare, can cause VLM, a disease that causes
    swelling of the bodys organs or central nervous
    system. Symptoms of VLM, which are caused by the
    movement of the worms through the body, include
    fever, coughing, asthma, or pneumonia. (1)

  • In most cases, Toxocara infections are not
    serious, and many people, especially adults
    infected by a small number of larvae (immature
    worms), may not notice any symptoms. (1)

  • The most severe cases are rare, but are more
    likely to occur in young children, who often play
    in dirt, or eat dirt (pica) contaminated by dog
    or cat stool.(1)

  • Have your veterinarian treat your dogs and cats,
    especially young animals, regularly for worms.
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water after
    playing with your pets and after outdoor
    activities, especially before you eat. Teach
    children to always wash their hands after playing
    with dogs and cats and after playing outdoors.

  • Do not allow children to play in areas that are
    soiled with pet or other animal stool.
  • Clean your pets living area at least once a
    week. Feces should be either buried or bagged and
    disposed of in the trash.
  • Teach children that it is dangerous to eat dirt
    or soil.

Review Questions
  • How do you get toxocariasis?

  • By accidentally ingesting (swallowing) infective
    Toxocara eggs from larvae in soil or other
    contaminated surfaces.(1)

  • What are the two major forms of larval migrans?

  • Ocular larval migrans and visceral larval migrans

Sarcoptic Mange What is it?
  • Microscopic sarcoptic mange mites cause sarcoptic
    mange, also known as scabies.
  • Sarcoptic mange mites affect dogs of all ages,
    during any time of the year.
  • Sarcoptic mange mites are highly contagious to
    other dogs and may be passed by close contact
    with infested animals, bedding, or grooming

How do I get it?
  • People who come in contact with an infected dog
    may acquire the mite.(3)

Symptoms - Dogs
  • Sarcoptic mange mites burrow through the top
    layer of the dogs skin and cause intense
    itching. (3)

Symptoms - Dogs
  • Clinical signs include
  • Generalized hair loss
  • Skin rash
  • Crusting
  • Skin infections may develop secondary to the
    intense irritation.(3)

Symptoms - People
  • People who come in close contact with an infected
    dog may develop a rash and should see their

  • Look for fleas, ticks, and coat abnormalities any
    time you groom your dog.
  • See your vet if your pet excessively scratches,
    chews, or licks its haircoat, or persistently
    shakes its head. This may indicate presence of
    external parasites or other conditions requiring
    medical care.
  • Prompt treatment of parasites lessens your pets
    discomfort, decreases the chances of disease
    trasnmission from parasite to pet, and may reduce
    the degree of home infestation.(3)

  • Discuss the health of all family pets with your
    vet when one becomes infested. Some parasites
    cycle among pets, making control of infestation
    difficult unless other pets are considered.
    Consult your veterinarian before beginning
  • Tell your vet if you have attempted any parasite
    remedies, as this may impact your vets

  • Be especially careful when applying insecticides
    to cats, as cats are particularly sensitive to
    these products. Never use a product that is not
    approved for cats , as the result could be
  • Follow label instructions carefully.
  • Leave treatment to the experts. Your vet offers
    technical expertise and can assist you in
    identifying products that are most likely to
    effectively and safely control your pets
    parasite problem. (3)

Review Questions
  • Sarcoptic mange is also known as ______.

  • Scabies

  • How do people come in contact with the mange mite?

  • People who come in contact with an infected dog
    may acquire the mite.(3)

  • What is it?
  • Cheyletiellosis is a very contagious dermatosis
    caused by relatively large mites living on the
    skin surface.
  • Cheyletiella mites are obligate parasites and
    have a life cycle of approximately 3 to 4 wk in
  • They are not host specific and may transfer
    readily between dogs, cats, and rabbits. (4)

What is it?
  • The disease caused by Cheyletiella mites is often
    called 'walking dandruff.'
  • On close observation of an infested dog, cat, or
    rabbit, it may be possible to see movement of the
    dandruff on the skin.
  • The movement is caused by the mites motoring
    around under the scales.
  • Cheyletiella mites are found on animals
    throughout the United States. They generally do
    not cause significant disease. (5)

How do I get it?
  • Humans in contact with pets carrying Cheyletiella
    spp. are at risk of becoming transiently

Symptoms Animals
  • The mites cause skin irritation, usually along
    the back of the animal.
  • Slight hair loss
  • Scales (dandruff)
  • Itching
  • Possibly some thickening of the skin.
  • Cats and rabbits may not show any signs of
    infestation (5)

Symptoms - Humans
  • Uncomfortable, pruritic dermatosis, characterized
    by papular lesions that, typically, appear on the
    arms, legs, trunk, and buttocks.
  • Cheyletiella spp. are not capable of reproducing
    on humans, so appropriate treatment of the pet
    host should prevent further infestation, making
    human acaricidal therapy unnecessary. (4)

  • How will I know if my pet has Cheyletiellosis?
  • Mites may be seen on the animal, especially if
    you use a magnifying glass.
  • Examining dandruff, hairs, or scrapings of the
    skin under the microscope can positively identify
    the mites.(5)

  • If you suspect that your pet has Cheyletiellosis,
    seek the advice of your veterinarian, who will
    recommend appropriate treatment.
  • The mite can live for several days off the host,
    so the environment needs to be cleared of mites
    as well.
  • At the same time the animals are treated, the
    environment may be fogged or sprayed.
  • Since the mites only live for several days off
    the host, it is often effective to remove the
    rabbit, dog, or cat from the premises for several
    days until the mites die. This would prevent

Review Questions
  • Another name for the disease caused by
    Cheyletiella mites is _________.

  • walking dandruff

  • Are Cheyletiella capable of reproducing on humans?

  • No - Cheyletiella spp. are not capable of
    reproducing on humans

  • What is it?
  • Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals
    most often transmitted through the bite of a
    rabid animal.
  • The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    each year occur in wild animals like raccoons,
    skunks, bats, and foxes.
  • Domestic animals account for less than 10 of the
    reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and
    dogs most often reported rabid. (6)

What animals carry rabies?
  • Any mammal can get rabies.
  • The most common wild reservoirs of rabies are
    raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes.
  • Raccoons are the most common carriers in North
  • Domestic mammals can also get rabies. Cats,
    cattle, and dogs are the most frequently reported
    rabid domestic animals in the United States.
  • Your pets and other domestic animals can be
    infected when they are bitten by rabid wild
    animals. (7)

What about rodents?
  • Small rodents (such as squirrels, rats, mice,
    hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and chipmunks, )
    and lagomorphs (such as rabbits and hares) are
    almost never found to be infected with rabies and
    have not been known to cause rabies among humans
    in the United States. 
  • One case of a pet guinea pig was reported
  • Bites by these animals are usually not considered
    a risk of rabies unless the animal was sick or
    behaving in any unusual manner and rabies is
    widespread in your area.

What about rodents?
  • However, from 1985 through 1994, woodchucks
    accounted for 86 of the 368 cases of rabies
    among rodents reported to CDC. (7)
  • Over the last 10 years Tufts Wildlife Clinic has
    seen a number of large native wild rodents
    (mostly woodchucks, but also porcupines and
    beavers) with neurologic signs that have tested
    positive for rabies.(8)

How do I get it?
  • People usually get rabies from the bite of a
    rabid animal.
  • It is also possible, but quite rare, that people
    may get rabies if infectious material from a
    rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into
    their eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.(7)

How do I get it?
  • Non-bite exposures to rabies are very rare.
    Scratches, abrasions, open wounds, or mucous
    membranes contaminated with saliva or other
    potentially infectious material (such as brain
    tissue) from a rabid animal constitute non-bite
    exposures. Occasionally reports of non-bite
    exposure are such that postexposure prophylaxis
    is given.(7)

How do I get it?
  • Inhalation of aerosolized rabies virus is also a
    potential non-bite route of exposure, but other
    than laboratory workers, most people are unlikely
    to encounter an aerosol of rabies virus.(7)

How do I get it?
  • Bites from bats can go undetected by a person.
  • If a dead bat is found in the house or the
    bedroom it is a concern for bite and rabies

Can it be transmitted person to person?
  • The only well-documented documented cases of
    rabies caused by human-to-human transmission
    occurred among 8 recipients of transplanted
    corneas, and recently among three recipients of
    solid organs .
  • Guidelines for acceptance of suitable cornea and
    organ donations, as well as the rarity of human
    rabies in the United States, reduce this risk. (7)

Can it be transmitted person to person?
  • In addition to transmission from cornea and organ
    transplants, bite and non-bite exposures
    inflicted by infected humans could theoretically
    transmit rabies, but no such cases have been
  • Casual contact, such as touching a person with
    rabies or contact with non-infectious fluid or
    tissue (urine, blood, feces) does not constitute
    an exposure.
  • In addition, contact with someone who is
    receiving rabies vaccination does not constitute
    rabies exposure. (7)

Symptoms Animals
  • Animals with rabies may act differently than
    healthy animals. 
  • Wild animals may move slowly or act tame.
  • Also, some wild animals, like foxes, raccoons,
    and skunks, that normally avoid porcupines, may
    receive a face full of quills if they become
    rabid and try to bite these prickly rodents.
  • A pet that is usually friendly may snap at you
    and try to bite.

Symptoms Animals
  • There are two common types of rabies. One type is
    "furious" rabies. Animals with this type are
    hostile, may bite at objects, and have an
    increase in saliva. In the movies and in books,
    rabid animals foam at the mouth. In real life,
    rabid animals look like they have foam in their
    mouth because they have more saliva. (9)
  • In advanced cases animals also cant swallow,
    causing saliva to pour out.

Symptoms - Animals
  • The second and more common form is known as
    paralytic or "dumb" rabies. The dogs pictured
    have this type. An animal with "dumb" rabies is
    timid and shy. It often rejects food and has
    paralysis of the lower jaw and muscles.(9)

Symptoms - Animals
  • Signs of rabies in animals include
  • changes in an animals behavior
  • general sickness
  • problems swallowing
  • an increase in drool or saliva
  • wild animals that appear abnormally tame or sick
  • animals that may bite at everything if excited
  • difficulty moving or paralysis
  • death (9)

Symptoms - People
  • In humans, signs and symptoms usually occur 30-90
    days after the bite. Once people develop
    symptoms, they almost always die.  This is why it
    is very important to go to your doctor right away
    if you have been bitten by an animal that might
    be rabid.
  • Early symptoms of rabies include fever, headache,
    sore throat, and feeling tired. As the virus gets
    to the brain, the person may act nervous,
    confused, and upset. (9)

Symptoms - People
  • Other symptoms of rabies in humans include
  • pain or tingling at the site of the bite
  • hallucinations hydrophobia ("fear of water" due
    to spasms in the throat)
  • paralysis
  • As the disease advances, the person enters into a
    coma and dies. (9)

  • There is no treatment for rabies after symptoms
    of the disease appear.
  • There is an available rabies vaccine regimen that
    provides immunity to rabies when administered
    after an exposure (postexposure prophylaxis) or
    for protection before an exposure occurs
    (preexposure prophylaxis). (10)

  • Preexposure vaccination is recommended for
    persons in high-risk groups, such as
    veterinarians, animal handlers, and certain
    laboratory workers.
  • Other persons whose activities bring them into
    frequent contact with rabies virus or potentially
    rabid bats, raccoons, skunks, cats, dogs, or
    other species at risk of having rabies should
    also be considered for preexposure prophylaxis.

  • What to do after a possible exposure
  • If you are exposed to a potentially rabid animal,
    wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water,
    and seek medical attention immediately. A health
    care provider will care for the wound and will
    assess the risk for rabies exposure. The
    following information will help your health care
    provider assess your risk

  • the geographic location of the incident
  • the type of animal that was involved
  • how the exposure occurred (provoked or
  • the vaccination status of animal
  • whether the animal can be safely captured and
    tested for rabies

  • Steps taken by the health care practitioner will
    depend on the circumstances of the bite.
  • Your health care practitioner should consult
    state or local health departments, veterinarians,
    or animal control officers to make an informed
    assessment of the incident and to request
  • The important factor is that you seek care
    promptly after you are bitten by any animal.(10)

  • What you can do to help prevent the spread of
  • Be a responsible pet owner
  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats
    and ferrets. This requirement is important not
    only to keep your pets from getting rabies, but
    also to provide a barrier of protection to you,
    if your animal is bitten by a rabid wild animal.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they
    do not come in contact with wild animals. If your
    pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary
    assistance for the animal immediately. (10)

  • Call your local animal control agency to remove
    any stray animals from your neighborhood. They
    may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the
    number of unwanted pets that may not be properly
    cared for or regularly vaccinated.
  • Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals

  • Enjoy wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes) from
    afar (including animals on work grounds). Do not
    handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild
    animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your
    home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health.
    Call animal control or an animal rescue agency
    for assistance. (10)

  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar
    animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear
    friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals
    alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or
    occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and
    other similar areas, where they might come in
    contact with people and pets. (10)

  • When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with
    wild animals and be especially careful around
    dogs in developing countries. Rabies is common
    in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and
    Latin America where dogs are the major reservoir
    of rabies. Tens of thousands of people die of
    rabies each year in these countries. (10)

  • Before traveling abroad, consult with a health
    care provider, travel clinic, or your health
    department about the risk of exposure to rabies,
    preexposure prophylaxis, and how you should
    handle an exposure, should it arise. (10)

Local Cases
  • Rabid fox bites woman6/30/2005 623 PMBy News
    14 Carolina StaffA fox with rabies attacked and
    bit a woman in the Orange Grove community near
  • Authorities said the woman was walking her dogs
    when a fox started fighting one of them.
  • The woman used a stick to separate the two.
    That's when the fox bit her on the ankle.(20)

Local Case
  • In September 1997, a boy swimming at Jordan Lake
    State Park near Raleigh, NC, was attacked and
    bitten by a rabid beaver. This incident prompted
    Park officials to close the swimming areas and
    seek assistance from WS. State Park personnel and
    WS staff conducted intensive day and night
    searches and removed several beaver, one of which
    tested positive for rabies.
  • This was the second case of a rabid beaver
    attacking a person in the Park. Earlier in the
    summer, a rabid beaver attempted to climb into a
    boat with several fishermen. Rabies in beaver is
    extremely unusual only 14 cases nationwide have
    been reported to the Centers for Disease Control
    and Prevention over the past 40 years.

Review Questions
  • True or False
  • The vast majority of rabies cases occur in
    household pets.

  • False - domestic animals account for less than
    10 of the reported rabies cases

  • True or False
  • Wild animals work grounds pose no threat for
    carrying rabies, so it is okay to approach them
    and pet them.

  • Uhhhyeah right.

  • What is it?
  • Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus.
    Ringworm can affect skin on your body (tinea
    corporis), scalp (tinea capitis), groin area
    (tinea cruris, also called jock itch), or feet
    (tinea pedis, also called athlete's foot).(11)

How do I get it?
  • Ringworm is contagious. It can be passed from one
    person to the next by direct skin-to-skin contact
    or by contact with contaminated items such as
    combs, unwashed clothing, and shower or pool
  • You can also catch ringworm from pets that carry
    the fungus. Cats are common carriers. (11)

How do I get it?
  • Many different kinds of animals can transmit
    ringworm to people.
  • Ringworm is transmitted from direct contact with
    an infected animal's skin or hair.
  • Dogs and cats, especially kittens or puppies, can
    have ringworm that can be passed to people.
  • Cows, goats, pigs, and horses can pass ringworm
    to people too. (12)

How do I get it?
  • The fungi that cause ringworm thrive in warm,
    moist areas. Ringworm is more likely when you
    have frequent wetness (such as from sweating) and
    minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails.(11)
  • Microsporum canis is the most common type.

  • The symptoms of ringworm include
  • Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may
    blister and ooze. The patches often have
    sharply-defined edges. They are often redder
    around the outside with normal skin tone in the
    center. This may create the appearance of a ring.
    Your skin may also appear unusually dark or
  • When your scalp or beard is infected, you will
    have bald patches.
  • If nails are infected, they become discolored,
    thick, and even crumble. (11)

This is a picture of ringworm, tinea manum, on
the finger. This fungal infection is inflamed and
scaly. (11)
This child's leg shows a classical-appearing
ringworm lesion with central clearing and a
slightly raised red border. (11)
Ringworm is not seen as frequently in adults as
in children, but when conditions are conducive to
growth, the fungus can flourish. (11)
In the scalp, fungal infections often form
circular, scaly, inflamed patches. (11)
  • To prevent ringworm
  • Keep your skin and feet clean and dry.
  • Shampoo regularly, especially after haircuts.
  • Do not share clothing, towels, hairbrushes,
    combs, headgear, or other personal care items.
    Such items should be thoroughly cleaned and dried
    after use.
  • Wear sandals or shoes at gyms, lockers, and
  • Avoid touching pets with bald spots. (11)

Review questions
  • True or False
  • Ringworm is a close relative to earthworms.

  • False - ringworm is caused by a fungus.

  • True or False
  • Ringworm thrives on dry skin.

  • False - Ringworm is more likely when you have
    frequent wetness (such as from sweating) and
    minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails.(11)

  • Toxoplasmosis is caused by a single-celled
    parasite called Toxoplasma gondii.
  • While the parasite is found throughout the
    world, more than 60 million people in the United
    States may be infected with the Toxoplasma
  • Of those who are infected, very few have
    symptoms because a healthy person's immune system
    usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.

  • However, pregnant women and individuals who have
    compromised immune systems should be cautious
    for them, a Toxoplasma infection could cause
    serious health problems. (13)

How do I get it?
  • By accidentally swallowing cat feces from a
    Toxoplasma-infected cat that is shedding the
    organism in its feces. This might happen if you
    were to accidentally touch your hands to your
    mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat's litter
    box, or touching anything that has come into
    contact with cat feces. (13)

How do I get it?
  • Eating contaminated raw or partly cooked meat,
    especially pork, lamb, or venison by touching
    your hands to your mouth after handling
    undercooked meat. (13)
  • This is a far more likely source than the family

How do I get it?
  • Contaminating food with knives, utensils, cutting
    boards and other foods that have had contact with
    raw meat.
  • Drinking water contaminated with Toxoplasma.
  • Receiving an infected organ transplant or blood
    transfusion, though this is rare. (13)

How do I get it?
  • An infected pregnant woman can transmit the
    infection to her fetus (congenital
    toxoplasmosis). (14)

Symptoms - Animals
  • Cats rarely have symptoms when first infected, so
    most people do not know if their cat has been
  • The infection will go away on its own therefore
    it does not help to have your cat or your cat's
    feces tested for Toxoplasma. (13)

Symptoms - People
  • Symptoms of the infection vary.
  • Most people who become infected with Toxoplasma
    are not aware of it.
  • Some people who have toxoplasmosis may feel as if
    they have the "flu" with swollen lymph glands or
    muscle aches and pains that last for a month or
    more. (13)

  • Severe toxoplasmosis, causing damage to the
    brain, eyes, or other organs, can develop from an
    acute Toxoplasma infection or one that had
    occurred earlier in life and is now reactivated.
    Severe cases are more likely in individuals who
    have weak immune systems, though occasionally,
    even persons with healthy immune systems may
    experience eye damage from toxoplasmosis. (13)

  • Most infants who are infected while still in the
    womb have no symptoms at birth, but they may
    develop symptoms later in life.
  • A small percentage of infected newborns have
    serious eye or brain damage at birth.(13)

Who is at heightened risk?
  • People who are most likely to develop severe
    toxoplasmosis include
  • Infants born to mothers who became infected with
    Toxoplasma for the first time during or just
    before pregnancy.
  • Persons with severely weakened immune systems,
    such as individuals with HIV/AIDS, those taking
    certain types of chemotherapy, and those who have
    recently received an organ transplant. (13)

  • There are several general sanitation and food
    safety steps you can take to reduce your chances
    of becoming infected with Toxoplasma.
  • Wear gloves when you garden or do anything
    outdoors that involves handling soil. Cats, which
    may pass the parasite in their feces, often use
    gardens and sandboxes as litter boxes. Wash your
    hands well with soap and water after outdoor
    activities, especially before you eat or prepare
    any food. (13)

  • When preparing raw meat, wash any cutting boards,
    sinks, knives, and other utensils that might have
    touched the raw meat thoroughly with soap and hot
    water to avoid cross-contaminating other foods.
    Wash your hands well with soap and water after
    handling raw meat.

  • Cook all meat thoroughly that is, to an internal
    temperature of 160 F and until it is no longer
    pink in the center or until the juices become
  • Do not taste meat before it is fully cooked. (13)

Precautions/Prevention for Pregnant Women
  • Have someone else change the litter box or wear
    disposable gloves if someone else cant do it and
    wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • Change the litter box daily the parasite does
    not become infected until one to five days after
    it is shed in the feces.
  • Feed your cat commercial dry or canned feed

Precautions/Prevention for Pregnant Women
  • Never feed cats raw meat because this can be a
    source of toxoplasma infection.
  • Keep your cat indoors.
  • Avoid stray cats, especially kittens.
  • Cover outdoor sandboxes.
  • Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.

Precautions/Prevention for Pregnant Women
  • Generally if a woman has been infected with
    Toxoplasma before becoming infected, the infant
    will be infected because the mother is immune.
  • Some experts suggest waiting six month after a
    recent infection before becoming pregnant.

Once infected with Toxoplasma is my cat always
able to spread the infection to me?
  • No, cats only spread Toxoplasma in their feces
    for a few weeks following infection with the
  • Like humans, cats rarely have symptoms when first
    infected, so most people do not know if their cat
    has been infected.
  • The infection will go away on its own therefore
    it does not help to have your cat or your cat's
    feces tested for Toxoplasma.

Review Questions
  • True or false
  • Most people with toxoplasmosis exhibit no
    clinical signs of having it.

  • True

Review Question
  • Are there any groups of people who are at
    heightened risk of suffering from harmful
    symptoms of toxoplasmosis?

  • Yes previously uninfected pregnant women and
    individuals who have compromised immune systems
    should be cautious for them, a Toxoplasma
    infection could cause serious health problems.

Cat Scratch Disease
  • What is it?
  • Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial disease
    caused by Bartonella henselae. (15)

How do I get it?
  • Most people with CSD have been bitten or
    scratched by a cat. (15)

Prevalence and Symptoms in Cats
  • Kittens are more likely to be infected and to
    pass the bacterium to people.
  • About 40 of cats carry B. henselae at some time
    in their lives.
  • Cats that carry B. henselae do not show any signs
    of illness therefore, you cannot tell which cats
    can spread the disease to you. (15)

Symptoms - People
  • Mild infection at the point of injury
  • Lymph nodes, especially those around the head,
    neck, and upper limbs, become swollen.
  • Fever, headache, fatigue, and a poor appetite.

  • Rare complications of B. henselae infection are
    bacillary angiomatosis (reddish elevated lesions
    often surrounded by a scaly ring) and Parinaud's
    oculolandular syndrome. (15)

bacillary angiomatosis
Heightened Risk
  • People with immunocompromised conditions, such as
    those undergoing immunosuppressive treatments for
    cancer, organ transplant patients, and people
    with HIV/AIDS, are more likely than others to
    have complications of CSD. (15)

  • Avoid "rough play" with cats, especially kittens.
    This includes any activity that may lead to cat
    scratches and bites.
  • Wash cat bites and scratches immediately and
    thoroughly with running water and soap.
  • Do not allow cats to lick open wounds that you
    may have.
  • Control fleas.
  • If you develop an infection (with pus and
    pronounced swelling) where you were scratched or
    bitten by a cat or develop symptoms, including
    fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and
    fatigue, contact your physician. (15)

Case Report
  • In July 2000, a boy aged 5 years was admitted to
    a local hospital after having fever (with
    temperature reaching 104 F 40C) for 12 days
    and left upper quadrant pain for 8 days. Except
    for fever and inflamed tympanic membranes, the
    physical examination was unremarkable.
  • The child had sustained a scratch from a kitten 2
    months before onset of illness. His serologic
    titer for B. henselae obtained on day 14 of
    illness was 14096. (16)

Review Questions
  • True or False
  • Kittens are more likely to be infected and to
    pass the Cat Scratch Disease to people.

  • True

  • People with ________conditions, such as those
    undergoing treatments for cancer, organ
    transplant patients, and people with HIV/AIDS,
    are more likely than others to have complications
    of CSD. (15

  • immunosuppressed

Capnocytophaga canimorsus Sepsis(previously
referred to as Dysgonic fermenter -2 infection)
  • What is it?
  • Dysgonic fermenter-2 is a fastidious,
    gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen that can
    cause multiorgan disease in human beings.

Capnocytophaga canimorsus
What is it?
  • The first case of DF-2 infection was reported in
    1976, when the organism was isolated from the
    blood and CSF of a patient who had been bitten by
    2 dogs.
  • Dysgonic fermenter-2 is an organism of low
    virulence, usually causing serious illness only
    in people with impaired defense mechanisms
    against infection.(17)

How do I get it?
  • In one study, DF-2 was isolated from the
    oronasal fluids of 8 of clinically normal dogs.
  • The organism has been recovered from the oral
    cavity of dogs and cats that bit persons who
    later developed DF-2 infection. (17)

How do I get it?
  • Most human patients with DF-2 infection report a
    history of a recent dog bite.
  • Many of the remaining patients mention a history
    of animal exposure. (17)
  • In most (77) cases, infection is preceded by a
    bite or other exposure to dogs. (18)

  • Dysgonic fermenter-2 is an organism of low
    virulence for people with intact defense
  • In most instances, dog and cat bites cause DF-2
    infection only in people in high-risk groups.

  • The severity of clinical symptoms in DF-2
    infections varies from signs of fulminant
    postsplenectomy sepsis, to a milder disease in
    patients with intact spleens,in which fever and
    cellulitis are the most common signs. (17)

  • Localizing signs in severely affected patients
    include endocarditis, purulent meningitis, and
    septic arthritis. Symmetric peripheral gangrene
    may develop, and a necrotizing eschar may form at
    the bite site.(17)

Heightened Risk
  • Most fatal infections have occurred in persons
    with a history of asplenia, alcoholism, or
    hematologic malignancy. (18)

  • People in high-risk groups, especially asplenic
    individuals, should be aware of the dangers of
    being bitten by dogs and cats and should seek
    prompt medical attention if bitten.
  • Asplenic people should consider wearing a
    bracelet to inform health care personnel of their
    condition in case of emergency.(17)

  • One author has recommended that "given the
    frequency with which DF-2 is found in the oral
    microflora of dogs and cats, asplenic individuals
    should be advised not to keep dogs and cats as
  • Although this advice may be controversial, it
    would be prudent for asplenic individuals to
    minimize the chances for dog or cat bites at work
    or at home. (17)

Review Questions
  • True or False
  • Capnocytophaga canimorsus Sepsis causes severe
    illness in virtually anyone who is infected with

  • False it usually causes serious illness only in
    people with impaired defense mechanisms against

  • True or false Alcoholism is a risk factor in
    developing serious illness relating to
    Capnocytophaga canimorsus Sepsis.

  • True

  • 1. CDC. Toxocariasis Fact Sheet.
  • 2. CDC. Guidelines for Veterinarians Prevention
    of Zoonotic Transmission of Ascarids and
    Hookworms of Dogs and Cats. http//www.cdc.gov/nci
  • 3. American Veterinary Medical Association.
    What You Should Know About External Parasites
    Caring For Animals (Pamphlet). 2/04.
  • 4. Chailleux, Paradis. Efficacy of selamectin in
    the treatment of naturally acquired
    cheyletiellosis in cats. http//www.pubmedcentral.
  • 5. Holly Nash, DVM, MS Cheyletiella yasguri, C.
    blakei (Rabbit Fur Mite) http//www.peteducation.
  • 6. CDC. About Rabies. http//www.cdc.gov/ncidod/
  • 7. CDC. Rabies Questions and Answers.
  • 8. Porkas, Mark, DVM. Pro-med mail post.
    November 30, 2004.
  • 9. CDC. Rabies for Kids. http//www.cdc.gov/ncid
  • 10. CDC. Rabies Prevention and Control.
  • 11. Medline Plus. Ringworm. http//www.nlm.nih.g
  • 12. CDC. Ringworm and Animals.
  • 13. CDC. Toxoplasmosis Fact Sheet.

  • 14. Medline. Toxoplasmosis. http//www.nlm.nih.g
  • 15. CDC. Cat Scratch Disease.
  • 16. CDC. Morbidity and Mortality Monthly
    Report. Cat-Scratch Disease in Children Texas,
    September 2000-August 2001. http//www.cdc.gov/mmw
  • 17. August, John R. Dysgonic fermenter -2
    infections. JAVMA, Vol 193, December 15, 1988.
  • 18. CDC. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
    Capnocytophaga canimorsus Sepsis Misdiagnosed as
    Plague New Mexico , 1992.
  • 19. USDA. Protection of Human Health and
    Safety. http//www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/wshl97/health
  • 20. http//rdu.news14.com/content/your_news/durham

  • This presentation was created while I was an
    employee of Priority One Services (POS) at the
    National Institute of Environmental Health
    Sciences (NIEHS). Thus, both organizations
    deserve credit for supporting the work.
  • However, opinions expressed in this presentation
    are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of
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