Bats, marine mammals and deer are just a few of the wild animals that disease can be spread to and from. Parasitology expert and CVC (now Fetch!) speaker Richard Gerhold, DVM, MS, PhD, has a few wild facts to share on each.
Chances are, wild animals aren’t something you regularly worry about in your veterinary clinic. But the diseases passed to or from our native fauna are pretty fun to know about. Test your knowledge of wildlife diseases below with this short quiz:
Which disease in bats is spread by spelunkers?
b. White-nose syndrome
White-nose syndrome has wiped out bat colonies, and as the fungal spores can be carried on clothing, spelunkers are living, breathing fomites. If you know that people are going in and out of multiple caves, advise them to change clothing in between caves. Watch Dr. Gerhold talk more on it here:
Which disease can cats transmit to marine mammals?
b. Feline immunodeficiency virus
Toxoplasmosis is a major disease of all mammals and birds, and an emerging fatal disease in marine mammals, including whales, sea otters and sea lions. It is caused by run-off from areas of human development. Protecting marine mammals from toxoplasmosis is another good reason to keep house cats indoors, for both feline welfare and marine life welfare. Here's Dr. Gerhold with more:
What disease can potentially cause local extinctions in deer?
a. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
b. Hemorrhagic disease
c. Lyme disease
Chronic wasting disease, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), in deer is similar to mad cow disease. It's decreasing local mule deer populations by 19% each year, a 10% decrease in white tail deer. It is also seen in elk and reindeer. There is no evidence that shows that humans can contract TSE from eating infected deer. Watch Dr. Gerhold for more:
How'd you do? This might not be knowlege you need on hand in your clinic, but parasitology and disease in wildlife often go hand in hand. You can find more expert advice, tips and tricks from Dr. Gerhold here. Still wild for more? We got you. You can find tons (and we mean tons) of parasitology content here.