We take it for granted now, but if you compare modern life to life prior to our Civil War ... probably the most important change has not been all the cars, planes, space travel, toilets, elevators, sky scrapers, phones, televisions, computers and other incredible inventions ... but our ability to protect ourselves, our children, our livestock, and our pets from the infectious diseases that used to kill millions willy nilly.
Our defenses against the suffering and ravages of infectious diseases include:
- Government, large pharma, academic, medical, agricultural, and veterinary knowledge and vigilance around the world that help eradicate or at least contain disease outbreaks. The containment of "Mad Cow" disease is a recent example. Because of government veterinarians, farm veterinarians, and the Center for Disease Control only a few cases were successful in entering the United States and those few cases were quickly identified, traced, and eliminated.
- Sanitation, water treatment, rodent control, sewage systems, mosquito control programs, and our strict standards on the processing, handling, and refrigeration of our wholesome food supply are all a major part of preventing epidemics of infectious diseases. We take it all for granted.
- We have invented vaccines for many of the diseases that used to kill so many people and animals. For some diseases we have developed or are in the process of developing things like ultra-violet lights, ionizers, and various forms of radiation that may prove useful. Medical centers, veterinary and medical universities, and companies all over the world are busy trying to develop newer and better ways to protect us from the infectious diseases we're still vulnerable to such as HIV - AIDS, malaria, Herpes, and Leptospirosis
- We have an arsenal of antibiotics and treatment protocols ready for when these diseases get past our defenses. Our chances of surviving these once deadly diseases are now excellent in most cases.
Despite all the amazing and wonderful advances we have made, the struggle against infectious diseases is far from over, though.
Disease organisms keep mutating and as you know, the world is not an orderly place; disease epidemics break out where-ever there is war, famine, lack of basic infrastructure, sewer systems, clean water, over-population, lack of rodent or mosquito control, droughts, floods, monsoons, or pollution.
Infectious diseases include diseases that spread from one creature to another caused by different types of:
Fungal, Yeast, and other misc Organisms
These organisms are spread in the air, through bite wounds, insects, direct contact, urine, stool or mucus, or by extra-close direct contact such as french kissing and you know what.
"These organisms are spread in the air, through bite wounds, insects, direct contact, urine, stool or mucus, or by extra-close direct contact such as french kissing and you know what."
On This Page:
Introduction to infectious diseases, which roughly speaking, means diseases caused by bacteria, virus', or fungal organisms.
For many of the viral (and some of the bacterial) diseases we discuss on these pages, we have highly effective vaccines.
Several generations of veterinarians and multiple government sponsored programs have been encouraging the populace to vaccinate their pets.
And because of this, diseases like rabies, distemper, lepto, parvo, and leukemia are no longer common causes of death and suffering in our pets ...except in those pets not vaccinated.
For other infectious diseases discussed on these pages, there may be a vaccine available, but the vaccine may not be as effective, reliable, long lasting, or as safe as we might reasonably hope, so their use is controversial.
And for some diseases we have very little protection at all except for avoidance, parasite control, and sanitation efforts.
Here's a list of the infectious diseases I have written about; just click on the disease that interests you:
Cardiology Heart disease in Cats, Cardiac Hypertrophy, Valvular disease, Cardiac Insufficiency, Congestive Heart Failure, Heartworm Disease, and a little history about the milestones in treating heart disease
Cats: general information page and directory of diseases and problems specific to cats including vaccine recommendations, leukemia, feline viral infections, feline upper respiratory disease and cats that just aren't feeling well.
The map above is a 2009 risk asscessment map for humans getting rabies if bit by an animal. Thanks to aggressive vaccination and stray animal control programs, if you live in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or Australia, you might feel smuggly safe. But look at the incident map for the same year of animals testing positive for rabies in the United States. Most of these cases were found in bats, skunks, coons, and other species that most humans don't come into frequent contact with but your outdoor pets do. So don't neglect your pet's vaccinations. It's important.
The above map indicates that the number of dogs testing positive for leptospirosis... even though there may be no obvious symptoms... is increasing.
Lepto is a water loving bacterial germ spread from the urine of wildlife that then contaminates puddles, ponds, streams, and lakes where it can then infect dogs, other animals, and people.
Click here for more information about the vaccine available and this emerging disease