Learn how to protect your family from alarming diseases pets carry
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Like humans, animals also harbor germs. However, it’s important to note that while certain pet diseases like distemper, canine parvovirus, and heartworms are not transmissible to humans, others are. Specific strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that pets carry can cause human illnesses through bites, scratches, or contact with an animal’s waste or saliva. It is essential to understand how these diseases are transferred to humans to prevent transmission.
- Infections transmitted by flea bites can lead to bubonic and septicemic plague. However, if your pet is affected by pneumonic plague, you can contract it through airborne droplets when they sneeze.
All three forms of the plague can result in symptoms like fever, chills, headache, and more. Untreated cases can be fatal. Therefore, it is crucial to start antibiotic treatment timely. To reduce the risk of plague, keeping your pets away from rodents and ensuring they are free from fleas is advisable.
- Hookworm eggs from the feces of an infected pet can survive in the soil and develop into larvae. These larvae can penetrate the human body through the skin, especially if you walk barefoot on contaminated ground. Hookworm infections typically do not pose a significant threat and often resolve spontaneously.
However, you may experience itchiness in your feet or lower legs, accompanied by red lines for a few weeks. You must inform your doctor if you notice these symptoms or have stomach pain or diarrhea.
- Infected animals can transmit the rabies virus through their saliva when they bite humans. Animals commonly affected by rabies virus include raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, or unvaccinated pets. Initially, individuals may experience feelings of sickness and fever.
Symptoms like nervousness, confusion, and difficulty sleeping are observed as the infection progresses. It’s crucial to thoroughly clean the bite with soap and water to mitigate the risk of the virus. Seeking immediate medical attention is essential because rabies can be fatal if the appropriate medication is not administered within a few days.
- Cats carry this parasite and transmit it through their feces. To reduce the risk of infection, cleaning the litter box and washing your hands thoroughly afterward is important. Healthy individuals can contract the parasite without experiencing illness.
However, it can pose problems for pregnant women or those with a weakened immune system. Symptoms may include muscle aches, fever, and red, blurry eyes. In most cases, people recover without needing treatment, but a doctor may recommend medication in severe instances.
Cat Scratch Disease
- A feline can potentially transmit this bacterial infection to humans through a scratch, bite, or if they lick an open wound on your body. This can lead to the affected area becoming tender and swollen, often with raised, pus-filled sores. You may also experience symptoms like fever and headaches.
Typically, this infection resolves on its own, but in some cases, antibiotics may be necessary. Trimming your cat’s nails and avoiding rough play is advisable to minimize the risk of scratches. Additionally, flea treatments can help prevent the transmission of the bacteria responsible for this infection. If you get bites or scratches from your cat, promptly clean them with soap and water.
- Dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and other animals can transmit this fungus to humans through direct contact. While adult animals may not display symptoms, kittens, and puppies often show signs such as crusty hair and bald patches. This infection typically occurs in humans as red, itchy, ring-shaped rashes on the skin’s surface.
Maintaining cleanliness for yourself, your pet, and the living environment is crucial to prevent infection. Treatment options include antifungal creams, sprays, and oral medications, which can effectively eliminate the infection.
If your pet has health concerns, contact Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center. We provide comprehensive pet care and strategies to promote optimal pet health. Contact us to get precise guidelines for your pet. We are located in Charlottesville, VA. Appointments are conveniently available. Call us at (434) 971-9800.