Zoonotic diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The best way to avoid Zoonoses is to make sure your pet is healthy:
- Acquire pets form reputable sources
- Maintain proper health care through regular vaccinations, and
- Monitor your pet’s contact with other animals who might carry disease.
Additional steps to minimize your risk of contracting a Zoonotic disease include wearing gloves for certain activities, i.e. when gardening, cleaning the litter box, and playing in the sandbox. Practice good sanitation and personal hygiene at all times. For example:
- Wash your hands after handling pets and preparing raw meat.
- Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables well before eating them.
- Consume only pasteurized dairy products.
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Don’t let pet cats hunt, i.e., keep them indoors.
- Prevent fleas, ticks, worms, and other parasitic pet problems with the most efficacious products currently available and use them under the recommendation of your veterinarian.
Train your dog and/or cat not to bite and/or scratch you. If you are bitten or scratched, clean the wound throughly with soap and water and contact your physician.
Bites that break the skin should be reported to local health authorities, especially if they were caused by an animal that is not your own, they are serious, involve the heard or neck, the bite was unprovoked or the animal’s behavior was abnormal. Rabies is potentially fatal and specific protocols will be available from your local health department.