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Diseases and pets

Diseases and Pets

Pets are not only enjoyable, but often beneficial for health. People with pets tend to visit the doctor less frequently and often experience less stress. Unfortunately, some individuals can also get sick from their pets. Animals can carry pathogens that can make humans ill. Such diseases are called zoonoses. Zoonoses are infectious diseases in animals that can be transmitted to humans. Generally, children are more susceptible to contracting a zoonosis because of their vulnerability and frequent close contact with animals. Fortunately, zoonoses are usually preventable.

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  • Direct contact: In many cases, infection with a zoonosis occurs through direct contact with an animal. For example, one can contract a fungal infection by petting or cuddling an infected animal. Even a scratch or bite can lead to illness. Therefore, promptly treat any ugly bite or scratch wounds by consulting your doctor or visiting the emergency room.

  • Indirect contact: Soil (sandbox) or dirt (garden) where cats and dogs have defecated may contain roundworm eggs. If hands are washed thoroughly with soap immediately after playing or gardening, there is no cause for concern. However, failure to wash hands can lead to infection. Consumption of improperly washed raw vegetables can also result in the ingestion of roundworm eggs.

  • Biting, blood-sucking insects, or ticks: The most well-known example is Lyme disease, which can be contracted through a tick bite. Cat scratch disease can be transmitted through a cat bite/scratch or via flea bites.

  • Through food: (Raw) food items or inadequately cooked milk, eggs, or meat can also transmit pathogens.

In general, healthy pets do not spread pathogens. Keep your pet healthy by having it checked annually by your veterinarian for health issues and, if necessary, vaccinate, deworm, and protect it against ticks and fleas. Additionally, maintain good hygiene (wash hands after outdoor play or contact with animals) and keep the living environment clean (clean up feces). This way, you can enjoy your pet without health risks.


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