All of us have seen a flea on one of our pets. Some may have even seen a tick or lice on our birds. But are there any unusual pests that can infest our furry friends?  Well, yes, there are. Here are some that you may encounter.

Warts are a member of the papilloma virus, but the ones that you see on cattle are not infectious to humans. These unsightly lumps and bumps are very off-putting to the viewer, but they are rarely life-threatening. They usually occur in younger animals under 2 years and will clear up without any treatment unless they become infected. There was an inoculation made, but it has been withdrawn from use. If care is taken that no infection occurs there is no scarring left after the infection vanishes and the animal may be shown again, as an older beast.


This disease thankfully is now very uncommon, but still can be found where the animal’s environment is not too clean, or where tetanus has been known to exist in past times. The cause of the disease, clostridium, can live in the soil for many years. Horses are more prone to the disease. Deep, hidden wounds, such as nail damage, or giving birth are some ways that tetanus can infect an animal. The virus is often deposited in the soil through horse droppings, so removing dung from a small paddock often can curtail its spread. Tetanus is usually fatal in animals. This disease can cross to humans if the signals are right – i.e. handling an infected horse without appropriate protective gear or not having a cut on the skin covered.

Skin fluke infestation.

This is a parasite-type flat worm that infects fish. Barramundi are very prone, but all types of fish, farmed and wild, can become victim to it. The parasite is often not visible to the eye, as it becomes transparent on the body of its host. Due to its sucking at the mucus on the skin of its host, it causes irritation which in turn makes the fish rub it to get rid of the parasite, and deep tissue injury occurs when the scales are rubbed off. Some consider that lower sea water temperatures bring this parasite to sight.  Others say that too many fish in the aquarium is also a factor. Cloudy eyes and pale areas on the skin can be signs of this pest. It does not cross to humans.

Infectious Laryngotracheitis

ILT is highly infectious in chickens. The affected bird swallows hard, has watery eyes and ruffles the feathers on the back of the neck continuously. The disease is similar to that which is known as Newcastle disease. As it progresses, the chicken extends its neck with violent swallowing moves, trying to dislodge the mucus that has built up there. Most actually die from suffocation as the mucus blocks the airway.  Fresh blood can be coughed up and sprayed as the bird coughs in an attempt to clear it throat. Vaccinations are the only way to stop the disease, plus keeping the pens clean.


All of the above diseases are not common to the usual pet but there is always a chance that it can be introduced unsuspectingly.  If you have suspicions that your pet is ill, or there is an obvious problem, contact your veterinary clinic immediately for help. Apart from the warts on cattle, which do not cross-spread, and the fish, all the all of the other diseases have the potential to cross to humans.