We all know about how rats and mice can easily transmit diseases to human through our food when it’s being shipped all over the world; but how about our household pets? How many diseases can they transmit to us, if any? Does it affect us the same way as it affects them? We all love our pets and with the time we spend around them, how likely is it that their diseases would be contagious to humans?
Pet diseases that’re contagious to humans
One of the most contagious diseases that you can get from your pet is ringworm. Ringworm spores can survive for months without a host, where a pet could pick up the fungal infection. On your pet, ringworm symptoms will appear as skin lesions and loss of hair with a red mark in the center. In humans, ringworm appears as red, circular patches on the skin. Treatment is simple enough, in both humans and pets. It is treated with either a prescription ointment or oral medication, depending on what your vet and doctor decide is best. To prevent ringworm, wash bedding in hot water once or twice a month and avoid sharing unwashed blankets or grooming tools with any other pet owners.
Roundworm is a parasite that is more common in cats and can resemble a piece of spaghetti up to 4 inches long. Kittens can be exposed through their infected mother’s milk, while older cats can be exposed through eating an infected rodent. For humans, roundworms are transmitted through roundworm eggs found in the cat’s feces. Because of this, children are more prone to becoming infected due to having poor hygienic practices. The symptoms in pets include diarrhea, visible worms in the stool, vomiting, constipation, coughing, and a bloody stool. The symptoms in humans include a cough, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, or blood in the stool may be symptoms. If untreated in humans, it can actually cause permanent blindness. Treatment for both pets and humans alike is a prescription antiparasitic drug. Outdoor cats are more prone to the disease, so if possible, keep your cat inside. Also make sure anytime the litter box is touched, yours or your children’s hands are washed immediately.
Hookworms are parasites that will suck on the intestinal linings of dogs which, especially in puppies, can cause fatal blood loss. The eggs can be transmitted to humans from the feces, by direct contact. The symptoms in your pet will most likely be only diarrhea and weight loss. In humans, there are often times no symptoms, but when they do appear can be an itchy rash, cough, wheezing, stomach pain, anemia, or loss of appetite. This can also be treated with a prescription antiparasitic for humans and pets. A general prevention for all parasites, is to make sure your pet’s feces are picked up and disposed of properly.
If you live and walk your pet by streams, rivers, or lakes, they may be prone to giardia – a waterborne, one-cell organism. The only symptom for both humans and pets is diarrhea. While humans can take an antiparasitic, you’ll want to contact a vet for the proper medication for your pet. Prevention is as simple as bringing clean drinking water for your pet on hikes or walks and favoring dog parks where owners are responsible when it comes to picking up dog feces.
Campylobacter, one of the most common diarrhea-inducing diseases in the U.S., can be transmitted through a variety of baby animals. Treatment for humans is to just stay hydrated, though sometimes medication may be administered. For your pet, you’ll want to head to the vet to see what they may need. If a puppy or kitten is sick with this disease, refrain from excessive holding or kissing, even after the pet is recovered as the germ can take up to 7 weeks to shed from your pet.
Between 77-90% of all reptiles actually harbor salmonella. Baby chicks may also harbor this disease. There really are no symptoms in pet reptiles or baby chicks, however humans may suffer from abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, headache, and nausea. Luckily, most people will recover without treatment, but some cases do require hospitalization. Make sure everyone always washes their hands after handling these pets. Never wash a tank in your kitchen sink and if you choose to wash it in the bathtub, be sure to disinfect the tub afterwards.
Cat scratch fever or cat scratch disease is a bacterial disease also known as bartonellis. Cats may be infected by ingesting infected flea feces while grooming or from an infected tick. Humans can contract it from ticks or if bitten or scratched by an infected cat, as well as if a cat licks an open wound. Cats may run a fever or have swollen glands. Humans may get swollen lymph nodes, fevers, and headaches. These usually resolve on their own, however sometimes antibiotics may be required if you have a weakened immune system. Prevention comes from mostly caring for and keeping your cat’s claws trimmed.
Everyone knows of rabies and the affects it can have. Although it is rare in the United States, it all comes through prevention. Make sure you keep your pets vaccinated and away from any wild animals. Seek immediate medical attention if you or your pet are bitten or scratched by an unknown dog, cat, or wild animal.
Prevention is better than cure. This proverb rightly fits to this situation. Like any living organism, your lovely & cute pet is also vulnerable to certain diseases and can be transmitted to human being without any notice. So it’s always a better decision to act fast. If you see any of these symptoms, immediately take your pet to the nearby trusted pet hospital for diagnosing and giving proper treatment.