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 Diseases Transmitted by Pets

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Posts : 4527
Join date : 2009-10-23
Location : Ontario, Canada

PostSubject: Diseases Transmitted by Pets   Fri 13 Aug 2010, 10:44 am

I came across this post in another pet forum and thought it would be of interested here. Sorry I don't have a link to this article.


Diseases Transmitted by Pets

In 58 million American households pets are a source of joy and perhaps even the key to longer, healthier lives. However, pet-owning households with young children, pregnant women, and the people with weakened immune systems need to be aware that their animals can play host to disease-causing microorgamisms.
Humans are not likely to catch a disease through their pets, but in very rare cases it can happen. Fortunately, most of these diseases rarely occur in healthy individuals, are mild and can be easily treated. Others, like toxoplasmosis, can be far more serious. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called Zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases usually live out their complex life cycles in animals, but sometimes cross into human bodies. Usually contracting a pet-borne disease requires very close contact with animals or their excretions, so zoonotic diseases can be avoided, with cleanliness, regular pet examination, and vaccinations.

Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens, making them more likely to carry disease than older dogs and cats.

Although the chances of getting a zoonotic disease from your pet are slim, these are some common pet-borne illnesses that can make people sick:

Salmonellosis- This bacteria generally makes its way into the human bodies through comtaminated food. The bacteria can be passed through animals feces and may cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and exhaustion.

Roundworm-Roundworm eggs and microscopic adult worms can be excreted in the feces of dogs and cats infected by the worms. Children may be at higher risk for contracting roundworms. Because of the risk to children, all cats and dogs should be taken to their vaterinarians for regular fecal examinations. Symptoms can include fever, cough, loss of appetite, weakness, and lung congestion.

Cat Scratch Fever-This bacteria is usually transmitted from cats to humans through scratches. The bacteria is found on nails or claws and can cause high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In otherwise healthy people, Cat Scratch Fever can is usually mild and resolves itself. However, the bacteria caused by CSF can be extrememly dangerous or even fatal if left untreated in immune-compromised individuals.

Strep Throat-Through your pet is probably not the culprit bringing strep into your household each year, the possibility does exist. Recently, researches have found that its more likely people are infecting their pets. In any case, keep your children from kissing, licking or exchanging food by mouth with their pets.

Ringworm-A fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, ringworm starts as a rapidly spreading hairless, circular lesion. Humans can be infected through use of contaminated objects like hair brushes, towels or clothing or by contact with infected animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats, and guinea pigs.

Scabies-Also called sarcoptic mange, scabies is a skin disease caused by itch mitese with burrow under the skin. Scabies cause intense itching and scatching that can result in severe eczema. Humans can be infected by infected animals.

The most effective way to prevent zoonotic diseases and ensure your good health is to ensure good health for your pets. This means taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations.
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