Taking Care of Your Health: Understanding Pet-Transmitted Diseases

More frequently than you might believe, zoonotic infections are illnesses that can be transmitted from pets to humans. Even though your pet seems to be in perfect health, they may be hiding a contagious sickness. Keep up with your pet’s preventive care to keep them healthy and prevent getting sick.

How might I catch a sickness from my pet?

Numerous avenues exist for pets to spread viruses to humans, including

  • Direct contact — Direct contact with saliva, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids from an infected pet can result in the transmission of disease. If you clean up your pet’s accident inside, or they lick a sore on your leg, you can contract an illness.
  • Indirect contact — Indirect disease transmission occurs when you come in contact with something an infected pet has contaminated. For example, if your child digs in their sandbox after a stray cat has used it as a litter box, they may contract a roundworm infection.
  • Vectors — Vectors, like ticks and fleas, can be attracted to your pet and be carried indoors to bite and transmit disease to you.
  • Food — Undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables contaminated with feces from an infected pet, are some of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in people and their pets. 
  • Water — Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces or urine can result in diseases such as giardia or leptospirosis being passed to you.

Which ailments could I contract from my pet?

There are numerous ways for pets to infect people with various diseases:

  • 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)

This is by no means a comprehensive list, so always use excellent cleanliness while dealing with your pet’s waste and possessions to avoid spreading sickness.

To their human and animal family members, pets can transmit a wide range of illnesses and parasites. Regular preventative care is the greatest approach to safeguard all of your family members, including your two- and four-legged pets. For everyone’s safety and well-being, give our staff a call to make an appointment for your pet’s preventive care visit.