Guarding Your Well-being: Essential Knowledge on Diseases Transmitted by Pets

Zoonotic diseases, which are illnesses that can be transmitted from pets to people, are more common than you may think. At Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital, we understand the importance of keeping you and your furry companions safe and healthy. Even if your pet appears to be perfectly healthy, they can carry transmissible conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to stay up to date on their preventive care to avoid contracting various illnesses.

But how exactly can your pet pass diseases to you? Let’s explore the different ways:

  • Direct contact — Coming into direct contact with saliva, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids from an infected pet can result in the transmission of disease. For example, 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 that an infected pet has contaminated. For instance, 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, such as ticks and fleas, can be attracted to your pet and carried indoors, potentially biting and transmitting diseases to you.
  • Food — Consuming 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 both people and their pets.
  • Water — Drinking or coming into contact with water that has been contaminated with feces or urine can result in diseases such as giardia or leptospirosis being passed to you.

Now, you might wonder what diseases can you get from your pet? Here are some examples:

  • 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)

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Therefore, it is always important to practice good hygiene when handling your pet, their waste, and their belongings to prevent the transmission of diseases.

At Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital, we understand that pets can pass a multitude of pathogens and parasites to their human and animal family members. That’s why we emphasize the importance of regular preventive care to protect everyone in your household, including both two- and four-legged members. Give our team a call today to schedule your pet’s preventive care visit and ensure the safety and health of your entire family.