Life-threatening diseases people can catch from pets! We are grateful to our pets for their unconditional love and attention, but host of lethal diseases that come from our four-legged friends have raised concern among pet lovers. Fortunately, science and common sense can help us avoid these dangerous bugs! Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people are known as zoonotic diseases. Among the multitude of sicknesses that can be spread from our pets to us are fatal viruses, malicious bacteria, and nasty intestinal parasites.
Rabies is the most feared zoonotic disease. Only found in warm-blooded animals, rabies invariably kills the host through painful seizures and other neurological problems within a very short period of time. Without a single effective treatment protocol, the thought of contracting rabies is one that would scare even the bravest person.
Bacteria, like the so-called “superbug” Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus, or MRSA, can be transmitted to pet owners. Other types can cause severe abdominal illness or even kidney failure in people.
Even the intestinal parasites, more commonly known as “worms”, can cause serious issues for us. Tens of thousands of people in the US and Canada test positive for canine and feline roundworms annually and some of these people will suffer partial or total vision loss due to the worms.
Fortunately, effective vaccination programs have lessened the effects of these illnesses on people. Rabies is almost unheard of in North America and many bacterial diseases have been kept in check thanks to routine wellness care for pets. Other diseases and parasites can be minimized by listening to your mother…wash your hands! Routine hand washing has been shown to lessen the spread of many germs and parasites.
Zoonotic diseases are truly the specialty of your family veterinarian. Their expertise is this area can help keep your whole family safe!