From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:



New York and Rhode Island
health officials said February 24 that a mys-
terious hantavirus caused the January 20
death of Rhode Island School of Design stu-
dent David Rosenberg, 22, who may have
become infected via rodent droppings while
sweeping out a warehouse in Queens. The
case is among the first known human cases in
the U.S. that apparently does not involve deer
mice. Four days earlier, the Centers for
Disease Control confirmed that the hantavirus
afflicts Florida cotton rats, and announced
the death of three Kansans from suspected
hantavirus infections. Of the 60 known U.S.
human victims, 27 have died; 23 have
recovered after suffering debilitating illness.

The hantavirus apparently originated in Asia.
Authorities in Sri Lanka on March 7 called
for a rat extermination drive to fight it.
Already at historic lows due to
overhunting and habitat loss, and weak-
ened by a harsh winter, East Coast migratory
waterfowl are now menaced by the biggest
duck virus enteritis outbreak in more than 20
years. The disease broke out among ducks
and geese wintering in the Finger Lakes
region of upstate New York. About 200,000
ducks and geese visit the Finger Lakes during
a typical spring migration.
The Mayo Clinic, Tufts
University, and the New England Medical
Center have jointly developed a new test to
identify Lyme bacteria in people with chronic
arthritis, whose initial infection may have
gone undetected. The old test, which costs
about $150, does not reliably distinguish
between Lyme inflamations and those caused
by the body’s own immune response. The
new test costs about $200, and can save
some advanced Lyme victims treatments than
may cost as much as $17,000 a month.
Health officials are probing 32
cases of Lyme disease-like symptoms in a
179-house subdivision northwest of Sonoma,
California. Earlier, a dog and 15 horses in
the area were hit by ehrlichosis, another tick-
borne ailment.
A fox rabies outbreak underway
in southeastern Louisiana since November
may be linked to the practice of importing
live-trapped foxes to stock chase pens, local
newspapers indicate. Before hunters began
setting up chase pens, in which they set dogs
on captive foxes and coyotes, rabies hadn’t
appeared in the area in over 45 years. No pen
owner admits having had foxes escape, but
coyotes have escaped near Livingston.
Officials of Kyonggi province in
the northern part of South Korea said at a
series of 553 town meetings February 25 that
it will inoculate 22,000 cows and dogs to fight
a rabies outbreak. Raccoons and feral cats,
who purportedly infected dogs and cattle in
the Chorwon and Hwachon areas late last
year, will be shot on sight.
University of California at San
Francisco researcher Dr. Jane Koehler
warned in a recent issue of the Journal of the
American Medical Association that 41% of all
U.S. cats may carry Rochalimaea henselae,
the bacteria causing cat scratch fever. AIDS
victims and the elderly are most vulnerable to
the disease, which is rarely serious. “I cer-
tainly don’t advocate getting rid of cats,”
Koehler said. I’d suggest that people wash
their hands after handling them and wash any
scratches or bites immediately with soap.”
“Potential owners of exotic birds
should make sure they do not buy smuggled
birds that could carry exotic diseases,” warns
the USDA. Hookbilled birds such as Amazon
parrots may carry Newcastle’s disease and/or
psittacosis, a.k.a. ornithosis, which hit at
least 53 Americans in 1993. Neither disease
is serious to most humans, though the latter
can kill AIDS victims––but a third disease
found in smuggled birds, Salmonelle enteri-
tidis phage-type 4, is characterized as “highly
virulent.” The diseases concern the USDA
primarily as a threat to poultry.
The National Animal Poison
Control Center, maintained 24 hours a day
by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the
University of Illinois in Urbana, may be
reached in emergencies at either 900-680-
0000 or 800-548-2423. Calls to the 900 num-
ber are billed at $20 for the first five minutes
and $2.95 a minute thereafter; calls to the
800 number are a flat $30 per case.
An online survey of what pet
owners are willing to spend for veterinary
care, conducted by Florida DVM Duane
Steward, has discovered, “The decision is
clearly income-dependent, but does not
apparently depend upon the owner’s age,
gender, family size, residential environment,
nor average age, number, or species of pets
in the household.” Pet age, disease progno-
sis, and duration of treatment were all more
consistent predictors of spending limits in
various combinations with each other than
alone. The most often cited limit per animal
was $1,000. Respondents tended to be more
affluent than the general population.
The New York State College of
Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University
has adopted a new curriculum including actu-
al animal care from the first day on; an
“Animals, Veterinarians, and Society”
course that includes literary materials and
discussion of animal rights; alternatives to
conventional dissection, including the use of
naturally deceased zoo specimens; and a
heavy emphasis upon independent study.
Shelter practice
The Tennessee Board of
Veterinary Examiners on March 14 sus-
pended the license of Clarksville veterinari-
an William G. Kilcoyne after an emergency
hearing heard that he choked a cat to death,
swung a kitten by the tail until she lost con-
sciousness, and beat several dogs, some of
whom were part of the Love at First Sight
adoption program run by Kilcoyne’s employ-
er, Dr. Ronald Whitford, who owns three
clinics in the Clarksville area.. Staff of Love
at First Sight and a local rival program,
Precious Friends, run by Whitford’s former
office manager and senior technician, Linda
Hutchisson, have traded nasty accusations for
several years, but this was the first time a
charge was substantiated. The North Shore
Animal League had picked up animals from
both programs on a weekly basis, but imme-
diately suspended relations with Love At First
Sight, and increased activity with Precious
Friends. Explained NSAL shelter director
Michael Arms, “We don’t want to do busi-
ness with anyone who’s abusive, but we don’t
want to leave animals behind, either. We’re
going to try to get the same animals to come
through Precious Friends at least until this
whole thing is resolved.”
Vicky Crosetti of the Knox
County Humane Society wants to form a
national association of veteterinary techni-
cians who work in shelters. Contact her c/o
KCHS, Knox County Humane Society,
POB 9479, Knoxville, TN 37940; 615-
573-9675 or fax: 615-577-3785.
Struggling since last summer to
halt an outbreak of parvovirus h i t t i n g
numerous shelters in Ohio and Indiana, the
Lake County Dog Pound in Painesville on
March 7 euthanized 15 dogs suspected of car-
rying the intestinal disease and closed for a
two-week quarantine while a cracked concrete
floor was resurfaced with an epoxy resin to
get rid of hiding places for germs. The Terre
Haute Humane Shelter pursued a similar strat-
egy in January.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.