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Share Love with your Pets, not Diseases

It is no secret that pets give companionship and fulfillment to their owner.Though they may be cute and cuddly, wild animals may carry germs, viruses, and parasites.

Animal diseases that people can catch are called zoonoses. Many diseases affecting humans can be traced to animals or animal products. You can get a disease directly from an animal, or indirectly, through the environment.

So we should be extra cautious while  handling them…

Hence think twice before sharing ice-cream or kissing your pet.


Although the numerous health benefits of pets far outweigh the risks, it can’t hurt to know what to watch out for:

1. Lyme disease

if your pets are doing the cruising, they can bring infected ticks to you even if you haven’t left home. You can’t get Lyme disease directly from your pet, but they can pick up an infected tick and pass it on to you.

2. Psittacosis (Parrot Fever)

This disease spread by type of bacteria found in the droppings of birds.Birds often don’t show symptoms. In humans, symptoms include blood-tinged sputum, dry cough, fatigue, fever and chills, headache, joint aches, muscle aches and shortness of breath.

3. Cat scratch fever

Cat scratch disease usually follows a bite or scratch from a cat, with a mild infection where the wound is. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, fatigue and diminished appetite.

4. Plague

Plague is generally associated with rats, but “risk factors for plague include a recent flea bite and exposure to rodents, especially rabbits, squirrels or prairie dogs, or scratches or bites from infected domestic cats.”

5. Q fever

Cattle, sheep and goats are the primary targets, although a variety of species may be infected, including house pets. The organism is found in the milk, urine and feces of infected animals, and  it is able to survive for long periods in the environment. Infection of humans usually occurs by inhalation of these organisms, as well as through tick bites or consuming unpasteurized dairy products.

6. Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals generally transmitted through the bite of an infected (crazy-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth) animal.The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper-salivation, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia. The simple workaround? Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination up to date.

7. Campylobacteriosis

Caused by eating raw or undercooked poultry or meat, or from cross-contamination of other foods by these items. It is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. Pets can also become infected, and people can get sick from contact with the stool of an ill dog or cat.

8. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that your pet can get when it comes into contact with the bacteria in the environment (drinking, swimming or walking through contaminated water) or when exposed to infected animals.

 Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis liver failure, respiratory distress and death.

9. Salmonellosis

People can get it from pets as, usually through contact with the pet’s feces. Reptiles such as lizards, snakes, and turtles are likely sources of this infection, as well as chicks and ducklings. Dogs, cats, birds and horses may also carry it.

10. Toxoplasmosis

Humans can get the nasty parasite from contact with cat feces, or by eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. Once ingested, T. gondii can invade the brain and muscle tissues, and reside within cysts that are resistant to attacks by the host’s defense system. The infection may also be passed from an infected mother to her baby through the placenta, creating serious complications — which is why moms-to-be should be relieved from cat-box duty.

11. Ringworm

This fungal infection forms a ring-shaped rash on the skin or a bald patch on the scalp. It is transmitted easily from pets to people, and from people to people, who can get it from direct contact with an infected animal.

12. Roundworm

Left untreated, nearly all puppies and kittens get roundworm. Distributed by pet feces, the egg form (the oocyst) can survive in the soil for years. If a human accidentally eats an oocyst, small worms hatch in the gut and move through the body. Nice. The larvae can also enter directly through the skin. Symptoms include fever, coughing, asthma, and/or pneumonia. Unfortunately, the worms can also enter the eye and cause Ocular toxocariasis, which though rare, causes blindness in seven out of 10 of those affected by it.

13. Tapeworm

Most human tapeworm infections are the result of eating raw or undercooked meat of infected animals, especially pork and beef.But children can pick up tapeworm parasites from cats and dogs by inadvertently swallowing a flea infected with tapeworm larvae — which may sound unlikely, but it happens. In the human intestine, the larva develops into the adult tapeworm. A tapeworm can grow to longer than 12 feet and can live for years — almost like a new pet!

14. Hookworm

These intestinal parasites are commonly found in dogs and cats, especially young ones. The worms’ eggs or larvae are passed from pets through stool and infest soil. People get infected by direct contact when they walk barefoot over contaminated soil. A young child might also accidentally eat the worm eggs. Hookworm infection can cause painful and itchy skin infections or abdominal symptoms.

To protect yourself from diseases carried by house pets, follow these tips.

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water after touching feces.
  • Take your pet to the vet on a regular basis and keep up with all vaccinations recommended for your area.
  • Avoid rough play with cats.
  • If your cat or dog bites you, wash the area with soap and water right away.
  • Wash your hands after handling your pet — especially before eating or preparing food.
  • People with weakened immune systems should take special precautions. These include never letting pets lick them on the face or on an open cut or wound, never touching animal feces, and never handling an animal that has diarrhea.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Maintain your pet health.
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