With winter upon us many people will be feeding their backyard feathered friends. However, be aware that there are a number of common diseases that can be spread through feeders. If you plan to feed your backyard birds please take a look at and freely distribute our new infographic on how you can help reduce the risk of spreading diseases among birds. @environnementcan @canenvironment @ontarioanimalhealthnetwork @thewcs @naturesaskatchewan @naturecanada.ca @naturalresourcescanada
The Killer Coolant Most antifreeze is made up of 95% ethylene glycol, which is diluted to 50% in vehicle cooling systems. Ethylene glycol is extremely toxic to all animals, including humans. Less than a teaspoon of antifreeze is enough to kill a cat, and less than a quarter cup can kill an adult human. Not only is it dangerous to wildlife because it is toxic in small amounts, but it also tastes sweet, and has a low freezing point so it is liquid when water is ice, which attracts animals to consume it. To help deter consumption by children, the BC government has required a “bittering agent” to be added to antifreeze since 2011, but the effects of this on consumption by wild animals is unknown. Common clinical signs reported in cases submitted to the CWHC BC are neurological signs such as incoordination, difficulty moving the hind end, and sometimes seizures. One raccoon was submitted with a history of “unusual friendliness”. Once ingested, ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed, reaching peak blood concentrations in about 3 hours. Symptoms for this period are mild, typically resembling intoxication with alcohol. Over the course of the next several hours ethylene glycol is metabolized by the liver and kidneys, and that is when it becomes a real problem. Accumulation of one of the metabolites, glycolic acid, results in a severe metabolic acidosis (decreased blood pH) and renal tubular necrosis (kidney failure). Accumulation of a later metabolite, oxalate, also contributes to renal tubular necrosis and is deposited as crystals in the renal tubules. The result is fatal in a few hours to days. Careful storage, handling and disposal of antifreeze as well as switching to antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is much less toxic, are all ways to decrease the risk of antifreeze toxicity in people, pets and wildlife. The best disposal is recycling. Check out the full blog article at blog.healthywildlife.ca/the-killer-coolant/ @environnementcan
Oct 3 2017, 4th year vet students at the UCVM spent a less glamorous day with wildlife in beautiful Banff Natl Park AB. The 4 students tested their pathology skills conducting post mortems on species many of them had yet to lay hands on in their young careers. The day kicked off part of a 2-week wildlife field medicine rotation fourth year students have the option of applying to enroll in to diversify their experience in their final year of their DVM program. The post mortems were a great opportunity for the students to learn about local wildlife and the value of conducting wildlife disease surveillance in the province. The course is organized by Dr. Owen Slater from the Dept. of Ecosystem and Public Health, UCVM, who is also one of four CWHC-AB associates. Federal parks staff were kind enough to host the day at their post mortem station near the town site of Banff. Dr. Bryan Macbeth, a veterinarian with Parks Canada, helped facilitate the day, and shared his knowledge on wildlife health. Dr. Sam Sharpe, an anatomical pathologist on faculty at the UCVM and CWHC wildlife pathologist took the course lead for the day. Collin Letain, wildlife health technician for CWHC Alberta collected post-mortem samples & reports for CWHC diagnostic caseload, and helped the students become familiar with basic wildlife anatomy. Throughout the day in the necropsy lab at Banff, students got experience with a range of wildlife from robins to raptors and black bears to bighorn sheep. Eleven animals were examined, including a lynx, wolf, white-tailed deer and a pair of both black bears and bighorn sheep. Following a picnic lunch overlooking Two Jack Lake on the lookout for bighorn sheep just outside the town of Banff, the afternoon’s attention focused on wildlife of the avian species. Students sorted through a mess of feathers examining a Canada goose, robin, magpie and a red-tailed hawk. Such practices are beneficial for students to learn normal anatomical structure and gain knowledge on the importance of wildlife health surveillance in order to understand the diversity of pathogens that may transmit between wildlife and domestic animals. Full article at blog.healthywildlife.ca
Boat strikes, fishing gear behind right whale deaths in Gulf of St. Lawrence. You can find the full report on the CWHC-RCSF website (http://www.cwhc-rcsf.ca/right_whales.php).
Updated map of potential trichomonosis cases reported to the CWHC-RCSF from Atlantic Canada and Quebec. DISCLAIMER This map represents the approximate locations of incidents of sick and dead birds based on reports submitted to the CWHC by the public. These incidents are represented on the map as either probable (green markers) or suspect (red markers) cases as defined below. Probable Cases (GREEN MARKERS): Appropriate species based on past outbreaks (i.e. purple finch, American goldfinch, pine siskin, and Rock pigeons) and gross examination of the specimen at our Atlantic Regional Centre to identify lesions consistent with trichomonosis (these will later be identified as confirmed cases if they have appropriate microscopic lesions). These are identified as green markers on the map. Suspect Cases (RED MARKERS): Appropriate species based on past outbreaks and reported clinical signs consistent with trichomonosis (e.g. fluffed up, regurgitating food or water, unable to fly, drooling, matted wet feathers on head and breast and food debris at corners of the beak). These cases are reported by the general public to our Centre but no specimen is submitted for post mortem examination. They are identified as red markers on the map.
Trichomonosis Update: We have received reports of people distributing seed on the ground in order to feed birds in areas affected by outbreaks of Trichomonosis. Please DO NOT feed birds by placing seed on the ground (also do not use table feeders). Sick birds sitting directly on bird seed are more likely to contaminate it with Trichomonas gallinae. These feeding methods also encourage mixing of the typical species that carry the parasite (e.g. rock pigeons) and other less frequently affected birds, resulting in an increased possibility of transmission. Please consult our fact sheet for additional info and watch our facebook page and/or twitter feed @cwhcrcsf for updates to our map of potential incidents reported to us.