Exposing Dangers: Common Human-Transmissible Infections Carried by Pets

It’s not as often as you think for pets to contract diseases that can be transmitted to humans, known as zoonotic infections. Keep up with your pet’s preventative care to avoid catching numerous illnesses, even if they seem OK on the outside.

How might my pet possibly infect me?

There are several ways in which pets might spread bacteria and illness to humans.

  • 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, 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 contaminated with feces or urine can result in diseases such as giardia or leptospirosis being passed to you.

Can my pet spread any infections to me?

Pets can spread disease to humans in several ways, including:

  • 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 not an all-inclusive list, but it should be a reminder always to use proper hygiene while interacting with your pet, their waste, and their things.

Pets can transmit several diseases and parasites to their human and animal family members. Preventative care is the greatest method to ensure the health and safety of the entire human and animal family. Call our office now to set up your pet’s preventative care appointment and ensure the health and well-being of your family.

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