10 Diseases You Can Get From Your Pets
Pets can make fantastic companions and fun playmates. Most pet owners are aware of the most disgusting parts of owning a furry loved one, such as cleaning out the litter box, scrubbing up the occasional accident and enduring slobbery kisses. Unfortunately, these may not be the grossest things that your pet can make you deal with. Pets can spread dangerous diseases that can sometimes be deadly if left untreated. Be aware of these diseases the next time you are playing with your pet to keep you and your family safe.
A highly contagious fungal infection, ringworm is commonly found in cats and dogs. Animals with the infection normally have patches of missing hair on their fur with red spots on their bare skin. In humans, a circular patch forms on the skin. It can be prevented by washing sheets twice a month in hot water and by not sharing grooming tools with other pet owners.
Your cat can easily be exposed to roundworms as a kitten through their mother’s milk or by eating small animals with the infection. The parasite resembles spaghetti and can grow to be four inches long, making them noticeable in the cat’s vomit or feces. Humans can become ill, with an estimated 10,000 children getting infected every year. If left untreated, blindness can result. To prevent roundworm, children should never be allowed to play in areas that may contain cat feces. Gloves should always be worn when changing the litter box to prevent the worms from being transferred to pet owners.
This disease is most dangerous for women who are pregnant or are considering having a baby. It is commonly contracted by cats who have eaten raw prey, such as birds or rats. Though it often doesn’t exhibit symptoms in cats, it can lead to eye and mental developmental problems in babies if the mother is exposed while pregnant. A blood test can be done if you think you may have the disease, which presents with flu-like symptoms and enlarged lymph nodes. Additionally, studies have also found that personality changes can occur in those affected, so proper diagnosis and treatment is critical.
Turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, salamanders, nets and their accompanying cages or aquariums can all be carriers of salmonella. The bacteria don’t affect your pet but can make owners, especially young children or the elderly, very ill. Diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea are all symptoms of salmonella. To prevent it from spreading from your pet, wash your hands with hot, soapy water every time your pet is touched. Tanks should never be cleaned in the kitchen sink, as this can spread the bacteria to the surrounding area.
5. Avian Tuberculosis
Avian tuberculosis (TB) can be found in all different types of birds. Your bird may have it if they have diarrhea, are lethargic or have dull-looking feathers. It is spread through ingesting or inhaling the infected birds’ feces. Always wear gloves, a mask, and goggles when cleaning out your bird’s cage to prevent being infected.
6. Cat Scratch Disease
Almost 40 percent of cats have the Bartonella germ under their nails, which can be transmitted to humans when they claw or scratch. In humans, s small, red bump near the scratch may appear and can be accompanied by fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches and joint pain. Keeping your cats’ nails trimmed and avoiding rough play that may cause scratches to occur is the best defense.
7. Bubonic Plague
Though just seven cases are reported each year by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it’s serious enough to warrant concern. It can be contracted by humans through fleas that have been on an infected cat or dog. Fever, swollen lymph nodes and swelling are symptoms for both pets and humans who have the bubonic plague. Keep your animal free from fleas to keep both them and you from getting ill.
Children are most susceptible to getting tapeworm from their four-legged friends because they are the least likely to wash their hands. Tapeworms are spread through flea, so keeping your pet flea-free is the best prevention. In humans, tapeworms can cause weight loss as the parasites attach themselves to the intestines and digest the food that is eaten, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting.
A rare, but extremely fatal, disease, rabies can be prevented by avoiding wild animals and getting your pet vaccinated. Symptoms in pets include foaming of the mouth, staggering and behavioral changes. Humans who have been bitten by a rabid animal may experience itching by the bite, anxiety, confusion and hallucinations. If your pet has symptoms, call animal control and stay away from them, because the disease is transmitted through saliva.
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These parasites attach to your dogs’ intestines and can kill them if they drink enough of their blood. The parasites are contracted through eggs in the dogs’ feces, so cleaning them up promptly will prevent them from hatching and attaching themselves to your dog or to you.
Keep your pet and your family safe by always washing your hands after playing with or cleaning up after your pet, keep your pets up-to-date on their vaccines and keep them close to home as much as possible. Pets are part of the family; protecting everyone from these serious diseases will help you to enjoy each other for a long to come.