Health & Fitness

How to avoid common illnesses with dogs and cats

The close relationship between humans and pets including dogs and cats increases the possibility of passing illnesses from humans to dogs and cats or vice versa. Diseases that humans can get from pets are called zoonoses while diseases that pets can get from humans are called reverse zoonoses. Zoonoses are popular and they are known almost for all people. These illnesses could be passed through skin contact either by hand or mouth. Reverse zoonoses may be rare and known by few people. These illnesses are caused by bacteria, parasitic, viral or combined pathogens.

In this topic, we will talk about common illnesses with dogs and cats that could be passed to humans and how to avoid them. We will also uncover illnesses that could be passed from humans to dogs and cats and how to protect your pets against these illnesses.

Common illnesses that may pass from pets to humans (Zoonoses)

Rabies

This disease affects both animals and humans, but it is usually passed by infected animal with rabies through bites. Perth based The Pet Practice says animals suffering from rabies have different symptoms but the most observed one is the sudden change in behavior. In contrast, humans may stay infected with rabies for months without observing symptoms then they notice them. These symptoms include weakness and headache, and the illness may progress to have anxiety and confusion. If you are bitten by a dog, immediately check your condition with a doctor and don’t wait for symptoms to appear because they are always late

Roundworm

Roundworms usually lead to toxocariasis, it is a disease that infects humans and dogs if they swallowed roundworm eggs. Infected animals can pass this disease by milk or colostrum from mothers to her puppies. If puppies were infected, their infection would be easily discovered because they don’t grow up normally. In humans, the disease passes the same like it passes among pets. So, children are the most exposed to the risk of this disease. There are two main forms to consider, Ocular larva migrans and visceral larva migrans. Ocular larva migrans causes inflammation to the retina while visceral larva migrans infects some portions of the human body including the nervous system, the lung and the liver.

Plague

Plague is a disease that is caused by bacteria, it infects both people and animals and passes from animals to people through bites or contacting with infected animals. The easiest type of plague is bubonic plague, signs of this disease on humans include headache and swollen lymph nodes. There are two other types but more severe including septicemic plague and pneumonic plague.

How to avoid Zoonoses

Transmission of disease from pets to humans is a common condition, to avoid it you should follow some precautions including the following:

  • Healthy habits: transmission of diseases always occur through contacts, try to wash your hands and your children’s hands directly after contact with your pet. You should also be far from unfamiliar pets to avoid bites. To protect your children, keep them far from tools or toys of your pet or you can clean these toys directly after being used by your pet.
  • Housing your pet: you should either specify a dog house inside your home or a safe shelter outside your home to keep it safe from infectious diseases. Try also to use a fence that keep your pet far from outside animals to protect it from infections through bites.
  • Monitoring the health of your pet: this is done by visiting your veterinarian regularly to make sure that your pet is not infected by infectious diseases. If you notice any sign of abnormal act by your pet, contact your vet directly to prevent any possible disease.

Common illnesses that may pass from humans to pets (Reverse Zoonoses)

Influenza

Influenza is one of the most common diseases among humans, humans may be exposed to influenza for long periods. During infection, their dogs or cats may also be infected through contacts. So, it is recommended for you to stay in a hospital and far from your pet during your infection by influenza. Symptoms are similar for humans and pets but it may be more dangerous for pets and may lead to death if they weren’t treated immediately.

Ringworm

This infection is related to the skin. So, it is witnessed easily. Both humans and pets could be infected by ringworm. In humans, ringworm causes red circular areas while it causes circular bald patches in pets. Humans who are infected by ringworm could transfer the infection to dogs and cats by direct contact or by using personal belongings like clothes and brushes. When a human, dog or cat is infected by ringworm, healthy one should avoid direct contact until the infected one is treated.

Mumps

This dog usually infects humans especially children, then it is passed to pets through direct contact. it leads to fever and headache. Signs of this infection on humans include painful swelling. These signs are the same for infected pets. Thanks to the great efforts excreted by authorities, this infection is rarely seen now by the help of MMR vaccinations. A member of the family who is infected by Mumps should be kept away from pets and other members of the family as possible until being treated.

How to avoid Reverse Zoonoses

Transmission of infections from humans to pets is a rare thing but it should be taken into consideration because once they are transmitted they could be more dangerous on pets even more than humans. The following precautions will keep your pet safe during your infection.

  • Don’t sleep with your pet on the same bed
  • Keep your pet away from licking your face
  • Wash your hands before and after feeding your pet
  • Prevent your pet from using toilet bowels

The relationship between humans and pets should be respected, you may not accept the idea of keeping away from your lovely pet, but you should afford to do this in order to avoid common illnesses for your dog, your cat or yourself if there is someone infected.

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