Pet ownership is different from the recent decades. However, there are things to know about taking care of a pet. It can some harbor infectious diseases that can sometimes be passed to humans.
Things to Know about Your Pet
In a report published by The Conversation, having a pet has good benefits for humans, it can be your friend or your helper but these benefits could also be the opposite. Our pets can also harbour infectious diseases that can be passed to people but the risk is low. Other things to know are that pregnant women and people with immune systems could possibly be at greater risk of getting sick from animals. Here’s the things to know about having a pet:
What diseases can pets carry?
There are different things to know about your pet. Various infections are present in the animals. One of them is zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. It is an infectious disease that can be moved from animals to humans. Over 70 pathogens of the animals are transmissible to people. There are some cases in which your pet might look sick if it has a zoonotic pathogen. Another thing to know is that if the symptoms are unrecognized it might be easier for you to catch it.
Zoonoses are easy to be directly passed from pets to humans through contact with saliva, bodily fluids, and feces. It can be indirectly passed through contaminated soil, food, water, or bedding. These are a few things to know about.
The prevalence of pet of pet-associated zoonoses is low but the number of infections is misleading since the zoonoses are unrevealed or could have different pathways or generic symptoms.
Another thing to know about Zoonoses is that it is rampant in dogs and cats (the pathogens are naturally present in their population) and are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. In the native part of Africa and Asia, dogs are the major carriers of rabies which can be transmitted through saliva.
According to The Guardian, Additional things to know is that the dogs can also carry a bacteria called Capnocytophaga. This can be transmitted through close contact and bites. The majority of people won’t get sick but it will weaken the immune system which will result in death. One casualty was reported in Western Australia.
For cats with zoonoses, it includes the number of illnesses that can be spread from the fecal-oral route such as giardiasis, campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, and toxoplasmosis. This means, wearing gloves or washing your hands while handling your cat’s litter tray.
Additionally, another thing to know about cats is that they can transmit infections through bites and scratches including the named cat scratch disease which is caused by a bacteria called Bartonella henselae. Also, dogs and cats can be a source of methicillin-resistant bacterium staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is another factor for zoonotic transmission from close contact with pets.
Birds, Turtles, and Fish can also Transmit the disease
Another thing to know about your pet birds is that they can transmit psittacosis, an infection that can cause pneumonia. For your pet turtles, you might be linked to Salmonella infections in humans, especially young children. Another thing to know about your pet fish is that it might linked to bacterial infections in humans including vibriosis, mycobacteriosis, and salmonellosis.
A study from the Netherlands said that owners who allowed their pets to lick their faces and 18% who allowed dogs to share their bed might have a risk of zoonotic transmission. Another thing to know is that it is the same study found out that there are 45% of cat owners allowed their pets to go on their kitchen sink.
Another thing to know about zoonotic infections is that they can also be transmitted by kissing your pets. One incident is reported in Japan that which a woman developed meningitis due to Pasteurella multicoda infection after kissing her dog’s face. These can be found in the oral cavities of dogs and cats.
The most risky in getting the disease from the animals are young children. They are more engaged in putting their hands on their mouth after holding their pets. They are not particular in washing their hands.
Another thing to know is that anybody who has close contact with a zoonotic pathogen with their pet can be sick or can lead to serious problems. It could be a great risk for young, old, pregnant, and immunosuppressed people.
For example, if people are infected with toxoplasmosis parasite, they will experience a mild illness that can be life-threatening or might cause birth defects in fetuses.
What Should I do if I’m worried about catching a disease from a pet?
Here are the things to know to avoid these diseases. These are a number of good hygiene and pet husbandry practices:
Wearing gloves when changing litter trays or cleaning aquariums
Wetting bird cage surfaces when cleaning to minimize aerosols
Keeping pets out of the kitchen (especially cats who can jump onto food preparation surfaces)
Keeping up to date with preventative veterinary care, including vaccinations and worm and tick treatments
Seeking veterinary care if you think your pet is unwell.
Supervising young children when they are playing with pets and when washing their hands after playing with pets
Washing your hands after playing with your pet and after handling their bedding, toys, or cleaning up feces
not allowing your pets to lick your face or open wounds
It is important for those with a high risk of illness to be careful and reduce exposure to zoonotic pathogens. If you are thinking about getting your pet ask your vet for proper guidance.