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Kinkajou Face Kinkajou : Diseases:
The risks and how to mitigate them


Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: Your health

I keep reading descriptions of how dangerous it can be to live closely with your dog. The reality is that it can be very dangerous to even have a dog. I have seen one website talk about how there are over 200 diseases a dog can spread to you. The reality is the organisms can spread to you whether you have your dog in your bed or in your backyard. Some diseases even require no contact with your dog. Some dog diseases don’t even require you to have a dog at all.

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Could You run through the categories of illness and disease and consider them.

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: Bacteria

All animals have bacteria living on the exterior (skin surface) and the interior (mouth and intestines). Generally many of these are not well adapted to living on human beings. If they are accidentally ingested by human beings or if human beings are exposed by touch, they really cause no problems. There are exceptions of course. If you have a wound or a break in a skin or other epithelial surface, bacteria can enter into your actual body itself. Cats and dogs carry a bacterium called Pasteurella which grows fast and aggressively. Bites for example are often contaminated with these bacteria – the bite creating a break in the skin surface, damaged tissues within and blocking circulation due to the crush injury – well enabling the bacteria to spread aggressively, most seriously as a cellulitis.

Pasteurella is a bacteria which is fortunately very sensitive to antibiotics especially penicillin. So doctors really have little trouble treating it.

Dogs outside do tend to scavenge and have no capacity to clean their backsides. They are not able to brush their teeth. This means there is often high bacterial contamination of parts of the body by rotting food and poo. Anaerobes are common in this type of contamination. These bacteria do not survive well being exposed to oxygen or being exposed and drying out. However because poop has bacterial counts of the order of exponential 12 to per cubic centimetre, even if 99% of the germs do die, the residual can certainly cause contamination and if you are unlucky- can cause infections.

Fungus on Poo In Yard

Fungi sprouting on dog poo.


Dogs spend time outdoors often in close contact with the ground. Not surprisingly , they often pick up fungal infections which spread to humans. Again fungal infections are environmental agents often poorly adapted to living on humans. The fungal infections that tend to spread to humans are often described as “animal fungi” and if they managed to infect some very unlucky person, they often cause big purulent discharging sores that look like bacteria infected skin lesions. They are quite susceptible to fungal antibiotic treatment, but it will generally take a course of pills or capsules to fix them not a course of cream.

Studies have found that 20-30% of the bacteria in urban water drainage is due to dog waste.

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: The big infective agents I worry about are Multi-celled organisms and protozoa.

A friend had a cat who liked to eat possums. (They exist in plague proportions in most Australian cities). However in escaping from his “bedroom” and eating one of these possums, my friend was fairly sure their cat became exposed to giardia.

This causes diarrhoea in some animals, (one infection pattern). This causes anorexia and an unwillingness to eat or drink (another infection pattern) in some animals.

The good doctor has seen children who have caught giardia who arrive at his clinic looking like concentration camp victims, being carried in by their parents to see the doctor. When they stop eating and drinking, they weaken quickly, and they begin to look very sick and very weak and very frail indeed.


Giardia Life Cycle Parasite

 Treatment is exceptionally easy and effective if the organism is suspected and identified and treated -with a simple antibiotic. If of course the diagnosis is not made, the animal may die, (more so the pet cat being at risk rather than any child). Being kind, I think doctors have a little bit more information to work with than vets, and are a lot more likely to make the diagnosis and do the right treatment.


Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: Worms are a big deal. There are many parasites that infect household dogs.

Dog hookworm infests the soil when a dog poos. As part of the parasite life cycle, the eggs come out of the animal’s intestinal tract in the faeces onto the ground. The eggs hatch, and the larvae spread across the soil waiting for an animal – typically a dog or cat of course to pass by. They will enter through intact skin, thereby affecting the animal. They don’t do well in large parts of Australia, because we have an arid climate. But it is very important to worm your animals.

Hookworm larvae, for example, can live for several weeks in the soil.  (But maybe not the typical arid Australian yard). To the horror of some people, wormlike hairs may drop out of people's noses. (These are easily treated in dogs or humans with a medication called mebendazole - OTC in Australia).

Dog HookWorm Life Cycle

Hookworm in the Intestine Hookworms in a colon: spotted at colonoscopy. Yes you can do this procedure to dogs as well as humans.


Kinkajou Face Kinkajou : Any more Problem Parasites or Infective Organisms?

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: The 2nd horror parasite is the dog tapeworm Echinococcus granulosis.

It is the main reason I insist on animals being only fed cooked meat, under all circumstances. If the dog’s skin becomes contaminated by faecal material, humans can accidentally ingest embryonated eggs. These hatch within the human intestinal tract and burrow into the tissues of the body, where they form a cyst. These cysts then begin to progressively expand, filling with parasites.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a cyst in a critical area such as in your brain, you may be in for quite a rough time. Even cysts in more accessible areas such as within the abdominal cavity, if accidentally ruptured during surgery, can cause disseminated serious infection. They are also relatively resistant to oral anti-worming medicines within the cyst structures.


Dog Tapeworms - Hydatid Disease

I have seen patients who are contemplating possible death as the markers for Echinococcus granulosis persistence -continue to rise inexorably- with nothing the specialist could do to alter the state of disease progression. The cysts are largely insensitive to anti-parasite antibiotic therapy and this is the problem. We actually don’t have an antibiotic which penetrates the cysts to kill them.

Abattoirs and meat works make a big effort to inspect all the meat passing through them, to exclude any meat grossly affected by cystic parasite (especially worm) infestations. However, visual screening can only get rid of meat which has high level contamination. It is of course always possible for low-level contaminated meat to make the grade and reach your local shop.

Hydatid Cysts in Liver

Again this is why I always insist on eating only cooked meat and on feeding only cooked meat to animals. If you get unlucky with the Echinococcus granulosis, you may die or suffer serious health injury.

This organism is not very common however. The tapeworm is very amenable to tapeworm therapies given to your dog with exceptional effectiveness. Worm your dog and feed it/them carefully and have very few risks. The most typical scenario is the infestation of a farm dog through eating meat sourced from a farm killed animal. In Australia that is why only abattoirs are allowed to “kill” animals such as sheep and cattle.

The Hydatid Tapeworm

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx: Still you do see the occasional unfortunate in the city, who cannot tell you where it all began. And who now has a sorry tale indeed to tell.

Dog Poo BagDog Poo Bin
Dog Poo Care


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