Can Pets Pass Their Illnesses to Owners?

By January 20 | See Comments

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You treat your dog or cat as a member of your family and not just your pet, so you cuddle with them, allow them on the couch and beds and let your children play with them. But, do you know what your pet was doing just before it came back inside and licked your face? You can never really keep an eye on your pet all the time, but you can make sure your pets are healthy and free of

diseases

and

parasites

.

Transmission

Pets can transmit various kinds of diseases and conditions to us, so always think twice before you share food with it. The most common mode of transmission is though physical contact. Diseases passed on from animals to humans are called zoonotic illnesses or zoonoses. Another mode of transmission is through the animal’s saliva or coming in contact with its excrement. Your pets can also carry

ticks and fleas

that can transmit “vector-borne” diseases such as Lyme disease.

Some diseases spread by pets

It was reported that more than 100 out of 250 zoonotic illnesses were transmitted from pets to people; the remaining were transmitted by livestock/other non-domesticated animals. Here are a few common diseases you could contract from your pet.

  • Rabies: This is a very dangerous disease and all pets are required to be vaccinated. Your pets can contract the disease only if they are bitten by a rabid animal. If your pet then bites you or if its saliva comes in contact with an open wound you might have, then you will also get infected. It is a potentially fatal disease and needs to be treated with highest concern.
  • Ringworm: This condition is caused by a fungus and is very easily transferable to humans. If either your pet or you contract this condition, then you can easily treat it with the right anti-fungal medication.
  • Roundworms: These are parasites found in your pet’s digestive system. Roundworms can cause blindness and are usually transmitted through soil or direct contact. Regularly give your pets de-worming medication.
  • Scabies: This is a serious condition for dogs after a mite burrows into its skin and causes itching and scabs all over its body. This is, however, not a serious condition for humans.
Prevention steps

Since you cannot monitor your pets at all times, you could follow the steps listed below to ensure that your pets stay healthy and so does your family.

  • Regularly vaccinate your pets.
  • Keep your pets free from ticks, fleas and other parasites. Use powders and other medication prescribed by your vet.
  • Keep your house and yard clean and remove your pets’ feces.
  • After touching your pets, always make sure you wash your hands.
  • Consult a veterinarian if you suspect your pet is ill.

Always remember that preventing your pets from contracting these diseases will keep your family safe and your four-legged companion healthy and happy.

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