The Birds, the Bees and the STDS

 By: Tim Leach
Whilst most responsible humans undertake regular STD testing, the furred and feathered have their own variety of sexually transmitted diseases to worry about. Bulldogs with brucellosis, koalas with Chlamydia and feline FeLV are just a few infections that feature in the animal kingdom. What should you be looking for as a responsible pet owner and what symptoms can you can expect Fluffy to show?

Bulldogs with Brucellosis

If your unneutered Fido's been doing it doggy style with a pooch in a park, he may have contracted brucellosis. Bulldogs aren't the only canine critters to contract brucellosis, but with their low slung anatomy they carry a higher risk rate than some other breeds. Once contracted, brucellosis spreads to the lymph nodes and the spleen. It also affects the prostrate, uterus and placenta making them sterile or severely reducing their fertility. In a pregnant pooch, litters of puppies can be stillborn or die immediately after birth. Male dogs will suffer from swollen testes, which will shrink soon after the initial swelling. Lesions may appear on the testes as a result of over-licking the swollen area. Other symptoms include a dull coat, inflamed eyes and arthritis. If you think your pooch may have contracted brucellosis, your vet can carry out STD testing. However, there is no cure and if Fido is found to be a carrier then he'll have the disease for life.

Felines with FeLV

If your Fluffy's been enjoying late night dalliances with the ginger tom from 29B, then you may want to take her to the vet for STD testing. Fluffy may have contracted FeLV, the feline equivalent of the human AIDs virus. FeLV attacks the white blood cells and leaves the cat vulnerable to infection. Lethargy, weight loss and poor appetite are all symptoms, and eight out of ten cats die within three years of catching the infection. If your vet's STD testing is positive for FeLV then unfortunately there is no cure. Your cat will need to be kept away from other cats as the disease can also be passed from sharing food bowls and close contact with infected cats. All kittens receive vaccines for both FeLV and FIV and it is important that your cat keeps up to date with her boosters to prevent her from catching the virus.

Koalas with Chlamydia

In Queensland, Chlamydia is a huge problem among the resident koala population. In fact, the STD is so prevalent that experts are worried that the koalas could become extinct within 30 years. Chlamydia in koalas can't be passed on to humans, but in the marsupial common symptoms include blindness and infertility. STD testing isn't usually needed as a common sign that the koala is infected with the STD is a dirty tail or a wet discoloured patch on their bottom. In both humans and koalas, Chlamydia can be treated with a course of antibiotics but this requires a daily dosage, so is only really possible with an already captive animal. Stress from habitat loss, dogs, and cars all play a part in the increase in incidences of Chlamydia symptoms.
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Article Tags: std testing

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