Pet Infections: Pathogens and Symptoms Part 1

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Pet Infections, Pathogens and Symptoms
Pet Infections, pathogens and symptoms



Animals involved

Mode of transmission


African sleeping sickness

Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense

range of wild animals and domestic livestock

transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly

Fever, severe headaches, irritability, extreme fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and aching muscles and joints are common symptoms of sleeping sickness. Some people develop a skin rash.


Angiostrongylus cantonensis, Angiostrongylus costaricensis

rats, cotton rats

consuming raw and/or undercooked snails, slugs, other mollusks, crustaceans, monitor lizards, frogs and unwashed vegetables contaminated with larvae

Infection first presents with severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weakness, which gradually lessens and progresses to fever, and then to CNS symptoms and severe headache and stiffness of the neck.



whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, other marine animals

eating raw and/or undercooked fish and squid contaminated with eggs

Anisakiasis are abdominal pain with nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention, diarrhea, blood and mucus in stool, and mild fever. Allergic reactions with rash and itching, and infrequently, anaphylaxis, can also occur.


Bacillus anthracis

commonly – grazing herbivores such as cattle, sheep, goats, camels, horses, and pigs

by ingestion, inhalation or skin contact of spores

Flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, mild fever, fatigue and muscle aches, which may last a few hours or days. Mild chest discomfort. Shortness of breath. Nausea. Coughing up blood. Painful swallowing.


Baylisascaris spp.

raccoons, badgers, skunks, bears, pandas, fishers, martens, kinkajous, marmots

ingestion of eggs in feces

Nausea, Tiredness, Liver enlargement, Loss of coordination, Lack of attention to people and surroundings. Loss of muscle control. Blindness, Coma.

Bird flu

Influenza A virus subtype H5N1

wild birds, domesticated birds such as chickens

close contact

cough, diarrhea, respiratory, difficulties, fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C), headache, muscle aches, malaise, runny nose, sore throat


Brucella spp.

cattle, goats

infected milk or meat

Fever, Chills, Loss of appetite, Sweats, Weakness, Fatigue, Joint, muscle and back pain, Headache.

Bubonic plague, Pneumonic plague, Septicemic plague

Yersinia pestis

rabbits, hares, rodents, ferrets, goats, sheep, camels

flea bite

Cough, with bloody sputum, Difficulty reathing, Nausea and vomiting, High fever, Headache, Weakness.

Cat-scratch disease

Bartonella henselae, Bartonella quintana


bites or scratches from infected cats

bump or blister at the bite or scratch site, swollen lymph nodes near the bite or scratch site, fatigue, headaches, low-grade fever.

Chagas disease

Trypanosoma cruzi

armadillos, Triatominae (kissing bug)


Swelling at the infection site. Fever. Fatigue. Rash. Body aches. Eyelid swelling. Headache. Loss of appetite.

Clamydiosis / Enzootic abortion

Chlamydophila abortus

domestic livestock, particularly sheep

close contact with postpartum ewes

Symptoms in women may include vaginal discharge or burning with urination. Symptoms in men may include discharge from the penis, burning with urination, or pain and swelling of one or both testicles.

Variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease



eating meat from animals with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)

loss of memory, which is often severe, problems concentrating, confusion, feeling agitated, aggressive behaviour, loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss, paranoia, unusual and inappropriate emotional responses


Cryptococcus neoformans

commonly – birds like pigeons

inhaling fungi


Pleuritic chest pain, Cough, usually nonproductive, Hemoptysis, Headache, Vision changes, Nausea and vomiting, Mental status changes, Meningitis, Seizures, Coma


Cryptosporidium spp.

cattle, dogs, cats, mice, pigs, horses, deer, sheep, goats, rabbits, leopard geckos, birds

ingesting cysts from water contaminated with feces

Watery diarrhea, Dehydration, Lack of appetite, Weight loss, Stomach cramps or pain, Fever, Nausea, Vomiting

Cysticercosis and taeniasis

Taenia solium, Taenia asiatica, Taenia saginata

commonly – pigs and cattle

consuming water, soil or food contaminated with the tapeworm eggs (cysticercosis) or raw or undercooked pork contaminated with the cysticerci (taeniasis)

Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation may arise when the tapeworms become fully developed in the intestine, approximately 8 weeks after ingestion of meat containing cysticerci.


Dirofilaria spp.

dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, monkeys, raccoons, bears, muskrats, rabbits, leopards, sea lions, beavers, ferrets, reptiles

mosquito bite

People with symptoms can have cough, including coughing up blood, chest pain, fever, and pleural effusion, excess fluid between the tissues that line the lungs and the chest cavity.

Eastern equine encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis

Triple E, Western equine encephalitis virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus

horses, donkeys, zebras, birds

mosquito bite

Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma

Ebola virus disease (a haemorrhagic fever)

Ebolavirus spp.

chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, shrews, forest antelope and porcupines

through body fluids, organs and ticks

Symptoms of Ebola include. Fever. Severe headache. Muscle pain. Weakness. Fatigue. Diarrhea. Vomiting. Abdominal (stomach) pain.

Other haemorrhagic fevers (Marburg viral haemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Rift Valley fever)

Varies – commonly viruses

varies (sometimes unknown) – commonly camels, rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses and swine

infection usually occurs through direct contact with infected animals

The haemorrhagic fevers are severe acute viral infections, usually with sudden onset of fever, malaise, headache and myalgia followed by pharyngitis, vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rash and haemorrhagic manifestations. The outcome is fatal in a high proportion of cases more than 50%


Echinococcus spp.

commonly – dogs, foxes, jackals, wolves, coyotes, sheep, pigs, rodents

ingestion of infective eggs from contaminated food or water with feces of an infected, definitive host and/or fur

Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, Bloody sputum, Chest pain, Cough, Fever,Severe skin itching.

Foodborne illnesses (commonly diarrheal diseases)

Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria spp., Shigella spp. and Trichinella spp.

animals domesticated for food production (cattle, poultry)

raw and/or undercooked food made from animals

Common symptoms of foodborne illness are diarrhea and/or vomiting, typically lasting 1 to 7 days. Other symptoms might include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, joint/back aches, and fatigue.


Gnathostoma spp.

dogs, minks, opossums, cats, lions, tigers, leopards, raccoons, poultry, other birds, frogs

raw and/or undercooked fish or meat

During this early phase, many people have no symptoms or they may experience fever, excess tiredness, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. This phase may last for 2 or 3 weeks.


Giardia lamblia

beavers, other rodents, raccoons, deer, cattle, goats, sheep, dogs, cats

ingesting spores and cysts in food and water contaminated with feces

Common symptoms include: fatigue. nausea. diarrhea or greasy stools. loss of appetite. vomiting. bloating and abdominal cramps. weight loss. excessive gas.

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