Chicken Pox
This is the Frank Sinatra of animal-themed sicknesses. A timeless classic, although the younger generations might not appreciate it. I remember fondly going to a Fourth of July Parade as a child, just recovering from the pox, and my mom not letting me look around too much lest other parents see my pox and get upset for contaminating everyone else. I also have a few choice scars from the ol’ poxy. Drawback: Some children are getting ‘vaccinated’ for this. Wimps.

Avian Flu
While this is the hot disease of the moment, it still can’t measure up to the grandaddy, pox del pollo. I don’t know much about this disease other than that I saw a Chinese man piling handfuls of live chicks into garbage bags on “Today,” so I think it’s gross. Downside: While I don’t really care about full-grown poultry, I’m never happy to see cute baby chicks fall ill with the flu. Do they get little bowls of vegetarian chicken soup?

Monkey pox
This was the disease du jour a few summers ago, but I think that most people just liked saying “Monkey Pox,” and maybe imagining a sad little chimp with a heating pad and tiny thermometer, than really knowing what the disease was about. Downside: Things are sad on the planet of the apes.

Prairie dog pox
This was a form of monkey pox passed on by pet prairie dogs, and what I want to know is, who has pet prairie dogs and where can I get one? For scientific research, of course. And oh yes, terrible about the disease, just terrible. Downside: Too many syllables.

(Originally published on April 25th, 2005)