You love your pets with all your heart and you want to ensure their health and happiness. However, if you are too close to your pet or often near or around them, it’s possible that you can catch diseases from them. Yes, your lovable pets can transmit diseases to you, too. Here’s a gallery of what your family pet may be sharing with you, and what can you do about it in terms of cure and/or prevention.
There are many species of Campylobacter but the most common is the Campylobacter jejuni which has the most impact on humans. The infection is most common among affected puppies and kittens, but can also be found among adult dogs and cats, as well as cattle and poultry. It can also be found in animal feces. C. jejuni is one of the leading causes of acute diarrhea and gastroenteritis in humans.
Diarrhea can vary in severity. Moderate diarrhea can be characterized by loose stools, and respond to antibiotics. Severe diarrhea or prolonged cases, however, can be characterized by bloody stools. It may require several medications such as ciprofloxacin, erythromycin (which is usually the most preferred), azithromycin, or norfloxacin, along with electrolyte replacement for lost fluids in the body due to dehydration.
To avoid contracting this disease, cook all poultry products thoroughly. Wash your hands immediately after having a contact with animal feces.
Cat scratch disease or (bartonellosis or cat scratch fever) is a bacterial disease that is spread by fleas to cats, but people usually get infected with this disease by a cat scratch or bite. If you see yourself having symptoms such as swollen head, neck and limbs, fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite, then you may have developed cat scratch disease. It can also lead to more serious complications such as damage to the valves in the heart.
To reduce the risk of cat scratch disease, you must do what you can to prevent fleas on your cats and in your home. If possible, avoid playing with your cat in ways that might lead to scratches and bites. But if you are bitten or scratch, wash the bites and scratches with soap and water. Do not also allow your cats to lick or scratch your open wounds.
Giardiasis is a disease caused by a genus anaerobic flagellated protozoan parasites called Giardia. They breed in the intestines of many vertebrates, and can even survive outside of the body; usually, water is the most common means of transmission for these parasites. Nevertheless, many puppies and kittens are infected by giardiasis, and these pets can infect people with the disease. People who develop giardiasis may experience diarrhea, gas or flatulence, floating and greasy stool, stomach or abdominal pains, nausea, and dehydration. However, not all symptoms that humans have are exactly the same type that pets develop.
If your dog or cat has giardiasis, minimize your exposure to the disease by cleaning and disinfecting your house, especially to areas where your pets can have access to. Clean all pet toys, bedding, and water and food bowls regularly. After handling your pet, clean your hands immediately and thoroughly.
A hookworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the digestive system of its host, usually a mammal such as a dog, cat, or human. They suck blood and therefore cause internal blood loss.
Hookworms can be transmitted from pets to humans by penetrating the skin. This can likely occur if the human walks barefoot or works in the garden with bare hands, on areas where the pets may have deposited their feces. A person who is infected by hookworms can experience symptoms from uncomfortable itching sensation to abdominal pains, bloody stools, and nausea.
Hookworms pose a grave threat to your pets. To minimize the risk of hookworm infection, have your pet examined by your veterinarian regularly. Keep your house clean and disinfected. If you believe you have been infected by your pet by having such symptoms mentioned above, consult your doctor immediately.
A corkscrew-shaped bacteria Leptospira is the main cause of this disease. Rats, mice, and other rodents are the primary hosts, while other animals such as pet dogs can be the disease’s secondary host. Leptospirosis is transmitted through the urine of an infected animal, usually a rat. The urine, as long as it’s still moist, can be washed away by something else (such as rain) into a standing water. Pets can become infected by sniffing urine, or by drinking, wading or swimming in waters that are contaminated by such urine.
Humans can be infected by leptospirosis from their pets. Persons who have leptospirosis can suffer a wide variety of symptoms, including high fever, headaches, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, stomach or abdominal pains, diarrhea, and rash. It can even result in death.
Proper sanitary measures are the most effective way to prevent the spread of this disease. Prevent your pet from being exposed to urine, and confine it to a more sanitized area of your house. If your dog has to urinate, walk your dog outside, frequently with a leash. Allow your pet to urinate only on hard surface areas (such as concrete), where the urine easily dries, or where it can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Wear protective gloves whenever you clean up after your dog. Clean and wash your hands immediately after having come in contact with your pet’s urine or feces. Wear boots when you wade through water, especially floodwater.
Although pet dogs and cats are not the direct carriers of Lyme disease, you can get Lyme disease by ticks that your pets pick up from outdoors. These ticks may carry the bacteria which causes Lyme disease.
Lyme disease either may cause no obvious symptoms, or it produces hard to diagnose symptoms that are similar to other diseases such as multiple sclerosis. In many cases though, a person who contracts this disease may develop a bulls-eye rash on a certain part of a body where the tick attaches. He or she may suffer fever, headache or dizziness, muscle or joint pain.
To avoid catching Lyme disease, avoid tick-infested areas, particularly during spring and summer. If you have to go out to do something such as gardening or hiking, cover your legs and arms and wear light-colored clothing. As soon as your pet dogs and cats enter into your home, remove ticks from them immediately to reduce the chances of infection. If you and your pet are living in a tick-infested area, use veterinarian-approved anti-tick solutions on your pet, and apply insect repellant with DEET on yourself to keep ticks off.
Psittacosis is an infectious disease that is usually transmitted by many species of bird particularly parrots, macaws, pigeons, parakeets and cockatiels. It is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia psittaci. Psittacosis can be transmitted to humans by inhaling the dried secretions from birds infected with this bacterium. Persons who get infected with psittacosis suffer symptoms such as headache, muscle pains, and dry cough.
To reduce the risk of catching this disease, pet birds owners should be reminded to feed the birds properly. Avoid overcrowding them in their cages in order to allow proper and adequate ventilation as well as reduce the chances of having contaminated air. Clean your birds’ cages regularly.
Q fever can infect both animals and humans who by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Although the organism is not common, it may be originally found in many domestic farm animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats, as well as dogs and cats.
Humans who come in contact with infected animals can contract this disease. People who also drink milk tainted with C. burnetii can be infected. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but the some of common symptoms include high fevers, severe headache, chills, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Although most persons affected with this disease recover, Q fever can also lead to more serious health problems such as pneumonia and hepatitis.
Educating the public about Q fever is an effective means of preventing this disease. Make sure that the milk you buy is pasteurized, and have your cattle and other domestic animals vaccinated. Quarantine imported sheep, cattle, or goats, as well.
Rabies is one of the most known viral diseases associated with mammals that include dogs, cats, monkeys, horses and cattle, as well as wild animals. Although wild animals carry most of the disease, it is mostly dogs and cats that can pass rabies to humans. People mostly get rabies from bites of infected animals.
Humans who get infected with rabies display the most common symptoms such as fever, headache, slight to partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, erratic and violent behavior, terror, and hallucinations which will most likely progress to dementia, and then loss of consciousness. Most rabies victims shows signs of hydrophobia, or irrational fear of water. Unfortunately, once a person has contracted rabies, it is almost certain that he or she will end up dying, even with the proper administration and intensive care. Rabies accounts for about 55,000 human deaths annually; the chances of survival from this disease is very rare.
To reduce the risk of contracting rabies, be sure your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations. Your pets should also be strictly supervised so that they don’t come in contact with wild animals which may have rabies. Do not adopt stray animals; instead, call the animal control in your town to remove them off the streets.
Ringworm is not really a worm, but a fungal infection of the skin in humans which is actually called dermatophytosis. It is a contagious disease that animals such as dogs and cats can pass on to humans. Persons can also get ringworm by having contact with the surfaces that an infected person or pet has touched.
The fungi that causes the so-called ringworm feed on keratin which is found in the hair, nails and the topmost layer of skin. Temporary baldness, thickening, discoloration or brittleness of the nails, and athlete’s foot are some of the symptoms of ringworm infection. A ring-shaped and reddish rash is also one of the common symptoms.
Ringworm is common during the hot and humid seasons where the fungus thrives in warm and moist areas. The best way to prevent yourself from having ringworm is to make sure your skin is clean and dry. If your pet or your family member has ringworm, apply an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream on affected areas of their bodies. If the topical treatments don’t work and the lesions otherwise worsen, consult your doctor. If the lesions are found on your pets, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Roundworm is a parasite that is usually found in the intestines of pet dogs and cats, particularly puppies and kittens. These worms’ eggs are passed from pets to their feces. Humans may get ringworm by walking outside barefoot or working with soil by their bare hands. Younger children might also eat the worm eggs accidentally.
People infected with roundworms may suffer the following symptoms: high fever, tiredness, allergic rash, abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and eye infection. To avoid picking up roundworms, don’t walk on soil with barefoot and wear protective gloves when you work in the garden. Teach your kids to wash their hands after touching a dog or a cat. If you suspect that your pet dog or cat has roundworms, bring it to your veterinarian to have it dewormed.
Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Usually, the bacteria can be transmitted through eating contaminated or improperly prepared food, but they can be passed to humans from animals, including your pet dogs or cats through their feces or from handling turtles smaller than 2″ across or frogs.
Common symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. To avoid catching salmonellosis from pets, wash your hands after contact with your pets’ stool, or after handling your pet. Clean up after your pet and dispose of their stools properly. Even though we know that you love sharing food with your pets, avoid doing so to reduce the risk of salmonellosis.
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease. Although many warm-blooded mammals can carry the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, pet cats are usually the primary host through their feces. Pregnant women are not allowed to clean cat litter boxes or eat undercooked meat because they are the most susceptible in contracting toxoplasmosis.
Many people who get toxoplasmosis usually don’t show symptoms or appear ill, but others may suffer swollen glands, muscle aches, and other flu-like symptoms. To prevent getting infected by this disease, you should wear protective gloves and/or wash your hands right away after contact with cat stool, especially when cleaning their litter boxes.
Bubonic plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis which is carried by a rodent flea. Humans usually get infected with bubonic plague after being bitten by the flea, or by handling the animal infected with the plague.
Symptoms of the plague among humans include gangrene, chills, general malaise, muscle pains, seizures, and painful swelling in certain parts of the body including the groin, armpits, neck, or thighs. Although sewer rats are usually the carriers of the plague, your pet rodents such as mice, rats, and gerbils may also carry the bacteria that cause the bubonic plague. If not treated immediately, the disease can cause more serious complications or death.
To lower the risk of getting bubonic plague, you should do the following:
- Don’t handle sick or dead animals. But if you must, wear protective gloves
- Avoid rodent feces
- Apply an insect repellant that contains DEET to yourself and your family
- Keep your pets clean of fleas by bathing them regularly or using a flea product
- Wash your hands regularly