Other Publications

  • Exotic pet trade in Canada: The influence of social media on public sentiment and behaviour
    by Michelle Anagnostou, Brent Doberstein
    Journal for Nature Conservation. 77, 126522, 2024.

    The live trade in wild animals can increase the risk of escape of exotic animals, introduce invasive species, spread zoonotic diseases, over-exploit wild populations, and harm animal welfare. Trade in exotic pets is a particularly understudied issue in Canada. We propose a conceptual framework for how exotic pet influencers directly and indirectly contribute to increased demand for exotic pets through opinion leadership, sharing information on where to buy exotic pets, and normalising exotic pet ownership. We suggest that it is important to raise public awareness among social media users about the challenges associated with wildlife trade, including animal welfare considerations, and the links between exotic pet trade and conservation.

  • Injuries related to pets, exotic animals, and falconry in Qatar
    by Suha Turkmen et al
    Qatar Medical Journal. 4, 2023.

    Pets and exotic animals are increasingly popular all over the world. Some of these animals may cause injuries to their owners or other people during interactions. Both injuries and systemic infections always present diagnosis and treatment challenges. The key recommendations are for parents or childminders to always supervise children when interacting with animals, be particularly cautious, and wear some form of protection when handling pets and domestic, exotic animals.

  • The global risk of infectious disease emergence from giant land snail invasion and pet trade
    by Jérôme M W Gippet, Olivia K Bates, Jérémie Moulin, Cleo Bertelsmeier
    Parasites & Vectors. 16 (363), 2023.

    Pathogen outbreaks mostly originate from animals, but some species are more likely to trigger epi- demics. The giant land snail (Lissachatina fulica) is a widespread invader, a popular exotic pet, and a notorious vector of the rat lungworm, causing eosinophilic meningitis in humans. However, a comprehensive assessment of the risks of disease outbreak associated with this species is lacking.

  • Exotic animal cafés in Japan: A new fashion with potential implications for biodiversity, global health, and animal welfare
    by Marie Sigaud, Tomomi Kitade, Cécile Sarabian
    Conservation Science and Practice. 5(2), e12867, 2023.

    Wildlife trade is a multibillion-dollar industry and concerns not only the exploi- tation of animals for their body parts but is also largely fueled by the demand for exotic pets. We document, in Japan, a recent phenomenon closely related to the pet trade and rapidly spreading in Asia: the display of exotic animals in a café/bar context. We argue that these cafés promoted through social media: (1) might have consequences for biodiversity as they encourage the purchase of exotic animals and represent a pool of potentially invasive species with their pathogens; (2) present a risk of pathogen transmission due to frequent close interactions with consumers; and (3) raise serious concerns about animal welfare.

  • A review of zoonotic disease threats to pet owners: A compendium of measures to prevent zoonotic diseases associated with non-traditional pets
    by Kate Varela et al
    Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 22(6), 2022.

    As people and a wide variety of animal species have increasingly close contact in diverse settings, guidance on preventing zoonotic diseases, caused by pathogens that spread between animals and people, is urgently needed. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three major groups of animals have repeatedly been associated with local, regional, and national outbreaks of zoonotic diseases in people in the United States: rodents, backyard poultry, and reptiles. This Compendium presents information on these and other non-traditional pet animal species associated with a high risk of zoonotic disease transmission in any setting.

  • Turning Negatives into Positives for Pet Trading and Keeping: A Review of Positive Lists
    by Elaine Toland, Monica Bando, Michèle Hamers, Vanessa Cadenas, Rob Laidlaw, Albert Martínez-Silvestre, Paul van der Wielen
    Animals. 10(12), 2371, 2020. Most legislation concerning exotic pet trading and keeping involves restricting or banning problematic species, a practice known as “negative listing”. However, an alternative approach adopted by some governments permits only those species that meet certain scientifically proven criteria to be sold and kept as pets. Thus, governments may “positively list” only those species that are suitable to keep in domestic settings and that do not present a disproportionate risk to people or the environment. We compare functions of negative and positive lists and offer recommendations to governments concerning the development and implementation of positive lists. --}
  • A preliminary assessment of bacteria in “ranched” ball pythons (Python regius), Togo, West Africa
    by Neil D'Cruze et al.
    Nature Conservation. May 2020 39:73-86 DOI: 10.3897/natureconservation.39.48599. This study evaluates the presence of any potentially pathogenic bacterial taxa in ball pythons and the live mice used as their food at a commercial python farm that could impact negatively on the health of these snakes and/or those keeping them. --}
  • Zoonotic parasites of reptiles: A crawling threat
    by Jairo A. Mendoza-Roldan, David Modry, Domenico Otranto
    Trends in Parasitology. Volume 36, Issue 8, August 2020, Pages 677-687. This review discusses the zoonotic risks associated with human–reptile interactions. --}
  • Risky business: Live non-CITES wildlife UK imports and the potential for infectious diseases
    by Jennah Green, Emma Coulthard, John Norrey, David Megson, Neil D’Cruze
    Animals. 2020, 10, 1632; doi:10.3390/ani10091632. Over 48 million individual animals were imported into the UK from 90 countries across nine global regions from 2014–2018. In terms of volume (semi-domesticated pigeons and game birds aside), amphibians were the most commonly imported group (73%), followed by reptiles (17%), mammals (4%), and birds (3%). The paper reviews the potential for infectious diseases emerging from these vast and varied wildlife imports and discuss the potential threats they pose to public health. --}
  • Healthy animals, healthy people: Zoonosis risk from animal contact in pet shops: A systematic review
    by Kate D Halsby, Amanda L Walsh, Colin Campbell, Kirsty Hewitt, Dilys Morgan
    PLOS ONE. 9(2) e89309, 2014. A wide spectrum of zoonotic infections are acquired from pet shops. Salmonellosis and psittacosis were the most commonly documented diseases, however more unusual infections such as tularemia also appeared in the review. Given their potential to spread zoonotic infection, it is important that pet shops act to minimise the risk as far as possible. --}
  • The morality of the reptile pet trade
    by Clifford Warwick
    The Journal of Animal Ethics. 4(1):74-94, 2014. The trade in, and private keeping of, reptiles as pets raises several ethical concerns regarding animal welfare; species conservation and environmental degradation; ecological alteration; and public health and safety (associated with zoonotic disease and animal-linked injuries). The selling and keeping of reptiles and other exotic animals has been likened to a Trojan horse of infection and infestation because people acquiring these animals are commonly unaware of the risks of introducing stealthy and infiltrative diseases right into the home. --}
  • Evidence for the transmission of Salmonella from reptiles to children in Germany, July 2010 to October 2011
    by M Pees, W Rabsch, B Plenz, A Fruth, R Prager, S Simon, V Schmidt, S Münch, P G Braun
    Eurosurveillance. 18(46):pii=20634, 2013. A new study looks at the salmonella risks associated with pet reptiles and presents significant findings regarding risk, and also introduces a new term term 'REPAS' as an acronym for 'Reptile-Exotic-Pet-Associated-Salmonellosis'. --}
  • Welfare and environmental implications of farmed sea turtles
    by Phillip C Arena, Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 27:309-330, 2013. DOI:10.1007/s10806-013-9465-8. This article looks at various captivity-related health problems arising in the farming of sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF), as well as the possible association between the farming of sea turtles and animal, human and environmental contamination. The paper includes a table of animal and zoonotic pathogens based on water analysis at CTF. --}
  • Injuries, envenomations and stings from exotic pets
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 105(7):296-299, 2012. DOI:10.1258/jrsm.2012.110295.. Data for 2009–2011 suggest that the number of homes with reptiles rose by approximately 12.5%. Many exotic "pets" are capable of causing injury or poisoning to their keepers and some contacts prove fatal. --}
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: are healthcare professionals missing zoonotic causes?
    by Clifford Warwick
    Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. 124(3):137-42, 2004. Acute gastrointestinal disorders (AGIDs) of presumed infectious origin are among the most frequent infective diseases referred to hospital. But established sources of potential infection -- such as pet shops, exotic and domestic pets, farm animals/environments, and zoos and other wildlife centres -- are, however, only infrequently enquired into by GPs; thus their pathological significance may be easily overlooked. --}
  • Reaping the whirlwind? Human disease from exotic pets
    by Catherine M Brown
    BioScence. 58(1):6-7. 2008. In 2005 alone, 210 million animals were legally imported into the United States to satisfy the growing demand for exotic species. An unknowable number of pets, animal parts, and meat were smuggled in during the same time period, making up a large part—a portion ranked second only to the illegal drug trade—of the estimated $10 billion per year international black market. Introducing so many animals into a new and unnatural environment—our homes—after removing them from the ecosystems in which they evolved represents a disruption of substantial magnitude. This displacement brings these animals into close proximity with species they have not previously encountered, and the public health consequences may be startling. --}
  • Compendium of measures to prevent disease associated with animals in public settings
    by National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc.
    Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Venues such as county or state fairs and petting zoos encourage or permit the public to be in contact with animals, resulting in millions of human-animal interactions each year. This report provides recommendations for minimizing risks associated with animals in public settings. The recommendation to wash hands is the most important. --}
  • Zoonotic viruses associated with illegally imported wildlife products
    by Kristine M Smith, Simon J Anthony, William M Switzer, Jonathan H Epstein, Tracie Seimon, et al
    PLOS ONE. 7(1): e29505, 2012. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029505. A pilot project to establish surveillance methodology in the United States for zoonotic agents demonstrated that illegal bushmeat importation could act as a conduit for pathogen spread. --}
  • Increase in extraintestinal infections caused by Salmonella enterica Subspecies II–IV
    by Sharon L Abbott, Frank C Y Ni, J Michael Janda
    Emerging Infectious Diseases. 18(4), 2012. Analyzing data on _Salmonella enterica_ subspecies II–IV infections in California, USA from 1985–2009, these subspecies were found to cause significantly more frequent invasive disease (e.g., bacteremia) than did _Salmonella_ subspecies I strains. --}
  • Surveillance of zoonotic infectious disease transmitted by small companion animals
    by Michael J Day, Edward Breitschwerdt, Sarah Cleaveland, Umesh Karkare, Chand Khanna, Jolle Kirpensteijn, et al
    Emerging Infectious Diseases. 18(12), 2012. DOI:10.3201/eid1812.120664. Most new human infectious diseases will emerge from animal reservoirs, but little consideration has been given to the known and potential zoonotic infectious diseases of small companion animals such as cats and dogs. A strategy should be developed to implement a coordinated global surveillance scheme to monitors disease in these species. --}
  • Salmonella prevalence among reptiles in a zoo education setting
    by H B Hydeskov, L Guardabassi, B Aalbaek, K E Olsen, S S Nielsen, M F Bertelsen
    Zoonoses and Public Health. 60(4):291-5, 2012. DOI:10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01521.x. Despite the relative high prevalence of Salmonella observed among clinically healthy reptiles in Copenhagen Zoo's Education Department, no Salmonella cases have been linked to the Zoo. Simple hygienic procedures such as handwashing may be reducing the risk. --}
  • Estimates of Enteric Illness Attributable to Contact with Animals and their Environments in the United States
    by Christa R Hale, Elaine Scallan, Alicia B Cronquist, John Dunn, Kirk Smith, Trisha Robinson, Sarah Lathrop, Melissa Tobin-D’Angelo, Paula Clogher
    Clinical Infectious Diseases. 54(5):472-479, 2012. An estimated 14% of all human illnesses caused by 7 groups of pathogens were attributable to animal contact. Continued efforts are needed to prevent pathogen transmission from animals to humans, including increasing awareness and encouraging hand hygiene. --}
  • Zoonoses: drawing the battle lines
    by Clifford Warwick
    Veterinary Times. 2006; 36 (15), 26–28.. Zoonotic pathogens are nothing new: some of the earliest forms of parasite possessed zoonotic potential through their "neophillic" status which, as a sound biological strategy, kept their invasive options open - and rightly so. --}