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"The Enemy - Zoonotic Disease or Us?"

Take a moment to read this peice written by Andrew Lacqua from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in our opionion editorial category. 

Andrew Lacqua
The Enemy - Zoonotic Disease or Us?
It’s a warm summer night and you are sitting around a fire with friends. You are talking about your new vegetable garden when smack!, you squish a blood-filled mosquito on your forearm. Thinking nothing of it, you continue the conversation as itchiness sets in. Meanwhile, your dog is hightailing it out into the forest. She saw a deer.
This scenario seems ordinary, right? It is. For the most part. Amidst the casual chatting and your dog, well, being a dog, there is great opportunity for the spread of disease. Zoonotic disease, to be exact. Let me explain.
A zoonotic disease is any disease or infection that can spread between humans and animals. They are caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi and they’re able to get into our bodies in all sorts of creative ways. Some get in through the air, others through urine, and others even through your pet’s water bowl. And just as the routes of transmission vary, so too do the symptoms. From cold cores caused by Herpesvirus to skin ulcers and vomiting from Anthrax, symptoms can be relatively benign to life-threatening.
Now back to the fireside chat. Your scratching your forearm remembering that you never put on bug spray. You don’t realize this, but the mosquito you just squished previously bit a bird infected with West Nile Virus. So, you go back into the house to find bug spray and decide to bring out the platter you made with the vegetables from your garden. You forgot to wash them and last night a few deer walked through your garden, spreading feces infected with E. coli all over the place. Thinking nothing of this, you look through your window and see your dog running out of the forest and into the house. You pet her and under the fold of her ear you feel a deer tick, carrying Lyme disease. It must have jumped onto her during her pursuit of the deer. You take extra precaution with the deer tick knowing that you, too, could get infected.
Throughout this entire scenario the limiting factor here is us, the humans. We are a huge part of zoonotic disease transmission and this is critical to understand, especially today. As the human population expands and connects previously disconnected parts of the world, the spread of zoonotic disease becomes ever more important. Dr. Sam R. Telford III, of the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health of the Cummings School, stresses that:
humans are to blame for any epidemic that we see due to zoonotic infections. We let deer overpopulate, and the ticks that result give us an epidemic of Lyme disease. We hunt for bushmeat and bring Ebola into the village. We don’t emphasize the human component enough.
Perhaps this could be the topic of discussion at the next fireside chat: the evidently detrimental role that humans play in the spread of zoonotic disease. Dr. Telford recalls the Pogo comic strip, published by Walt Kelly on Earth Day in 1971, in which Pogo somberly tells Porkypine , “We have met the enemy and he is us.”



Colors of Peru

We start Volume 52 Issue 4 of the Vet Gazette with these beautiful photographs from Taylor Owens from Texas A&M. 


While walking around in the town square of Cusco, I stumbled upon a few Peruvian ladies in traditional Peruvian dress with some lambs, an alpaca, and this adorable baby goat, who were all wearing knitted hats. Being a goat lover, I had to take a picture of this kid in a tiny knitted hat! The kid seemed to almost smile for my photo! I LOVED all of the vibrant textiles that I saw in Peru! The Peruvian women hand weave textiles and then make clothes, blankets, pillowcases, bags, you name it, out of them. Seeing those vibrant colors everywhere just made me happy! There were llamas free roaming around the historic Machu Picchu site, and it was wonderful to capture this llama grazing right in front of the classic Machu Picchu view!
One Happy KidColors of Peru




Wellness Spotlight

This month’s wellness spotlight features an event put together by the University of Missouri -
Columbia. At Mizzou, wellness is frequently a hot topic of conversation. Their SAVMA executive
board take wellness very seriously and decided to put together an event to enhance both the
students’ and faculty’s mental and physical wellness.

This past May, Mizzou SAVMA hosted their first ever annual Slow Pitch Softball Tournament.
The invitation for this event was extended to CVM students and faculty and held at Albert-
Oakland Park. Funding was required for this event and they used SAVMA’s All-For- Students
money to cover the cost. The funding covered the cost of food, water, gatorade, & sunflower
seeds as well as some additional gear (bats, balls, and gloves).
Here are some helpful tips if you’d like to organize your first Slow Pitch Softball Tournament:
This is a great way to make use of SAVMA’s All For Students funding
It’s always a nice incentive to provide food to get students to try new things, trying shopping at
your local Sam’s Club or Costco to keep costs low.
Some students may already own a bat, glove, or softballs, be sure to encourage them to bring
their gear so less money goes towards having to purchase it. If you do purchase gear, it’s a great investment because it can be reused for many years. Most local parks have areas that can be rented for a small fee for soft ball, kick ball, or other team sports. Even if they don’t have a dirt diamond, any large open grass area would work well. All you have to do is reach out to your community.
Mizzou used resources like email and Facebook to spread the word about their event. Since it
was a successful first tournament, they are expecting a much larger turnout next year. This is a
great way for students and faculty to get outdoors and improve their mental and physical
wellness. Thank you Kelly Sandelin for sharing this event with us.
Hosted a wellness event at your school? We’d love to hear about it. Email for more information about how to share



Duck, Duck - Goose & Morris

Kaitlyn Depsky from St. George's University shares with us her adorbable fur babies, Morris and Goose.

Goose all ready for HalloweenFeed Me!



Lazy Sunday Morning


Food for the Soul

Check out this rap video created by Maxbetter Vizelberg from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.