Protecting Your Health: What You Need to Know About Diseases Spread by Pets
Zoonotic diseases are ones that can be passed from animals to people and are more common than you might think. Even though your pet may look healthy, it could be carrying a disease that can be passed on to you. Make sure you keep up with their preventive care to avoid getting sick.
How can my pet pass diseases to me?
People can get sick from their pets in a number of ways, such as:
- Direct contact — Direct contact with saliva, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids from an infected pet can result in the transmission of disease. If you clean up your pet’s accident inside, or they lick a sore on your leg, you can contract an illness.
- Indirect contact — Indirect disease transmission occurs when you come in contact with something an infected pet has contaminated. For example, if your child digs in their sandbox after a stray cat has used it as a litter box, they may contract a roundworm infection.
- Vectors — Vectors, like ticks and fleas, can be attracted to your pet and be carried indoors to bite and transmit disease to you.
- Food — Undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables contaminated with feces from an infected pet, are some of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in people and their pets.
- Water — Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces or urine can result in diseases such as giardia or leptospirosis being passed to you.
What diseases can I get from my pet?
Numerous illnesses can be passed from pets to people through:
- Bacteria (leptospirosis, salmonella, E. coli, tick-borne disease, cat scratch disease)
- Viruses (rabies)
- Fungi (ringworm)
- Intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, toxoplasma)
- External parasites (scabies, fleas, ticks)
This list is by no means complete, so make sure always to use good hygiene when dealing with your pet, their waste, and their things to keep diseases from spreading.
Pets can spread pathogens and parasites to both people and other animals in the family. Regular preventive care is the best way to keep everyone in your home safe, whether they have two legs or four. Call our team to set up a preventive care appointment for your pet to keep everyone safe and healthy.