With COVID-19 (caused by the succinctly and thrillingly named “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”) in the news there has been increased interest in diseases passing from animals to people lately. Well, less interest and more concern. Well, less concern and more fear. But you know what no one seems to have pointed out to everyone that is worried about emerging disease coming from [insert the name of a part of the world that you don’t live in here]? We ALREADY have plenty of diseases that we can catch from other animals that can kill you. From kidney failure to fatal diarrhea to cysts in your brain, there are plenty of dangerous ZOONOTIC diseases around, and the best part is, they’re fascinating!
As a veterinarian, I face danger every day that I go to work, in the form of dogs that try to bite me, cats that try to scratch me, sugar gliders that latch onto my thumb and won’t let go, and so on. Veterinarians who see large animals get to face the prospect of being kicked, trampled or gored as well. But one of the dangers that we don’t talk about much is catching diseases from our patients. And that’s a shame, because again, it’s super interesting!
My intent is spend some time on a monthly basis talking about just one of the many zoonotic diseases that we are familiar with in veterinary medicine, and in the process help teach people what to worry about, what NOT to worry about, and also give readers a little glimpse into the work life of a veterinarian. Most of all, I hope that it is entertaining. (Assuming you like puns and sarcasm and irreverent humor as much as I do.)
-Eric Vance, DVM
27 Feb, 2020
At the end of every post, I will cite any papers, websites, etc that I used when writing. Most of them will be just based on my own knowledge, and of course anything wrong is, regardless of source, my fault. But that won’t be an issue, I’m never wrong in any way, just ask my wife.