Pathobiology News

Canine researchers team up for DOGBONe

Posted May 29, 2018

Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is a particularly aggressive disease in dogs – one that has limited treatment options and is almost always fatal. Worse, the current standard method of determining how badly the cancer will behave, tumour grading, can be unreliable and offers little information about the dog’s prognosis.

Treatment usually involves limb amputation when possible. But unfortunately, due to the aggressive nature of canine osteosarcoma, the disease usually metastasizes to the lungs, just like the human form of the disease that struck Canadian icon Terry Fox.

> OVC Bulletin

Learn how to protect yourself and your pets from ticks

Posted May 23, 2018

“While tick activity varies by species and life stage, spring and fall are when you generally see peaks in blacklegged tick activity and when the risk of tick bites is high for dogs and people,” says Dr. Katie Clow, DVM and post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Scott Weese’s lab at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

Dogs are really good at picking up ticks because they frequent tick habitats, and as a result can be early markers that the tick population is changing. In 2016, Weese, a leading researcher on transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans, launched the Pet Tick Tracker. This is an online surveillance tool created to monitor changes in tick populations by encouraging the public to help track ticks found on dogs across the country. 

The public could access the tick tracker through Weese’s popular Worms and Germs website. However, Weese believed it needed its own home and this led to the recently launched website. 


Public can help track wildlife health with online tool

Posted May 7, 2018

A new wildlife health tracking website developed by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at the University of Guelph is getting the public involved in tracking wildlife health.

“The health of wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and the environment are all connected,” says Reist, who is supervised by OVC pathobiology professor Claire Jardine and the CWHC’s Jane Parmley. “By tracking wildlife disease, we will learn more about conditions affecting wildlife health and can develop and implement better programs to protect wildlife health in Ontario.

Read the entire article by OVC SPARK writer Sydney Pearce on the U of G’s Office of Research website

Mark describes more about his work in this video from the Ontario Animal Health Network.

Read Full News Item: OVC BULLETIN

Cutting antimicrobial use in dairy calves

Posted April 30, 2018

Livestock producers have been urged to cut unnecessary antibiotic use to try to prevent resistant bacteria from developing in their herds and flocks. But on the farm, the question being asked is where and how?
Consider dairy calves, for example. More than half of calf deaths occur from diarrhea.Producers often treat this condition with antibiotics as soon as they detect it. They’re concerned delaying treatment could harm calf health and welfare.
But a University of Guelph research team says methodic management, in particular using oral electrolyte replacement and water when calves are dehydrated from diarrhea, can provide better results. They’ve found antimicrobials are required just a fraction of the time.
Ontario Veterinary College researchers have created a flow chart or algorithm to help guide producers’ decisions about treating diarrhea with antibiotics. They are one of the first research teams to investigate the effectiveness of protocols to reduce and refine antimicrobial treatment in pre-weaned calves.
“Use of the algorithm for treatment of diarrheic calves reduced antimicrobial treatment rates without a negative impact on their health,” says professor and lead researcher Scott Weese.
Read full article at DAIRY NEWS

City mice carry disease-causing bacteria with drug-resistant genes

Posted April 17, 2018

House mice aren't just a nuisance but a potential source of infections, say researchers who trapped and tested more than 400 of the rodents from apartments across New York City.

City dwellers tend to fear rats more than mice because they're bigger and can be seen scurrying in subways or in alleys. The researchers previously studied how rats carry disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and C. difficile.

But they were concerned mice might actually pose a greater health risk because they live with us in houses and apartments.

Dr. Scott Weese, an infectious disease specialist at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph who worked on the Vancouver study, said a bit of perspective is needed when evaluating the possible threat of mice spreading drug-resistant diseases. 

"Everything that moves" could be carrying such bacteria, he said, so it depends on the likelihood of exposure. For example, there's probably a much better chance you could be exposed to disease-causing microbes in your food or from touching a pet without washing your hands than from rodents. 

"If you say, 'OK cook your meat properly or get mice out of your house, which is going to be the best thing to protect you?' Well, cook your meat properly."

Read full story at CBC News

1 in 4 New York City mice carry drug-resistant bacteria, study finds

Posted April 17, 2018

Potentially harmful germs dwell inside the guts of urban mice, according to a team of scientists who trapped more than 400 of the rodents around New York City. The researchers, conducting the largest survey of microorganisms living in city mice, also identified several genes that give germs resistance to antibiotic drugs.

More recently, the hunt for superbugs has expanded beyond the medical pipeline. The current work is “an interesting study but not one that changes a whole lot,” said J. Scott Weese, a microbiologist at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, who was not involved with this research. “We know animals, including pets, food animals and wildlife, can carry a wide range of resistant bacteria.”

Read full story at the Washington Post

Airway Disease in Racehorses More Prevalent Than Previously Thought, Study Reveals

Posted April 11, 2018

Racehorses need their breath to run their best. But inflammatory airway disease (IAD) can rob them of their stamina.

New research in the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at the University of Guelph shows the disease is much more common than previously thought.

Graduate student investigator Federika ter Woort, under the supervision of OVC professor emeritus Laurent Viel, collaborated with pathobiology professor Jeff Caswell and Arroyo in the discovery that most of the horses had some degree of IAD, with mild to severe airway changes.

Read Full Story: OVC BULLETIN | U of G News | Science Magazine

Special congratulations go to Profs. Bonnie Mallard, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted April 7, 2018

Three Ontario Veterinary College recipients were recognized at the 2018 Women of Distinction Awards from the Guelph Y. The awards were presented during an event on May 3.

Special congratulations go to Prof. Bonnie Mallard, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award. The honour recognizes her groundbreaking research and development of High Immune Response technology used to breed healthier cattle, as well her mentorship of others and her co-founding of the Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre in Puslinch, Ont.

Read more about the awards on the OVC BULLETINU of G websiteGuelph Y website, and at Guelph Today,

Healthy Cattle Facebook Page

Human activity to blame for many at-risk bird deaths, study finds

Posted March 13, 2018

Nothing is killing Ontario’s at-risk birds of prey more than contact with the human world, according to a new study.

The University of Guelph study looked at reports of deaths of wild raptors – birds including eagles, peregrine falcons, hawks, owls and others – between 1991 and 2014.

It found that the most common cause of the birds’ death was trauma – often from flying into buildings or colliding with vehicles – followed by starvation.

Nicole Nemeth, a professor of pathobiology at Guelph, says starvation and emancipation deaths often have human causes as well, as human activity changes the environment in which it makes it more difficult for birds to hunt and find shelter.

Read full story on City TV News Kitchener

Cases of canine influenza in Ontario linked to imported rescue dogs

Posted March 8, 2018

Canine influenza — a relatively uncommon, yet potentially fatal respiratory disease — has been spreading through Ontario.

The infection is so rare in Ontario that most dogs aren’t vaccinated against it, which makes the recent outbreak even more troubling.

Ontario dogs haven’t been exposed to the strain and aren’t immunized against it, which has enabled it to spread quickly from a handful of dogs in central Ontario to an estimated 100 dogs.

“We’ve had concerns about importing for quite a while,” said the Ontario Veterinary College’s Scott Weese, one of the authors of a 2016 report calling for tougher regulations.

“We know that when you move animals across big distances, they bring things with them and that can include a variety of diseases — and the flu has been one of those concerns. We could see this was likely to happen at some point as there are very little restrictions on how you move dogs between countries.”

Read full story on City News