Pets as Carriers: Understanding Zoonotic Diseases and How to Stay Healthy

Zoonotic diseases, which are illnesses that can be transmitted from animals to humans, are more prevalent than you might imagine. Keep up with your pet’s preventive care to avoid getting sick, even though they seem to be in excellent health, because they could be carrying a transmissible disease.

How might my pet infect me with diseases?

There are many ways that pets might spread viruses to people, including

  • Direct contact – The disease can be transmitted by coming into direct touch with saliva, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids from an infected pet. You could get sick if you clean up your pet’s accident inside or if they lick a sore on your leg.
  • Indirect contact – When you come into contact with something that an infected pet has contaminated, disease is transmitted indirectly. A roundworm infection might occur in your child, for instance, if they dig in their sandbox after a stray cat has used it as a litter box.
  • Vectors – Vectors, such as ticks and fleas, can be drawn to your pet and brought indoors where they can bite you and spread illness.
  • Food – Foodborne infections in humans and their dogs are frequently brought on by undercooked meat, uncooked eggs, or fruits and vegetables contaminated with pet feces.
  • Water – Giardia or leptospirosis can be contracted by drinking or coming into contact with water that has been polluted with feces or urine.

What diseases might my pet transmit to me?

Many diseases can be transferred from pets to people via:

  • 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)

To prevent the spread of disease, always use excellent hygiene when handling your pet, their waste, and their belongings. This list is by no means comprehensive.

Numerous viruses and parasites can be transmitted by pets to human and other animal family members. Regular preventative care is the greatest approach to safeguard everyone living in your home, including two- and four-legged family pets. To keep your pet safe and healthy and to schedule a visit for preventative care, give our staff a call.