Protecting Your Well-being: Important Understanding of Diseases Transmitted by Pets

Zoonotic diseases, which are illnesses that can be transmitted from pets to humans, are more prevalent than you might realize. Even if your pet appears to be in perfect health, they could be carrying a transmissible condition. To avoid contracting various illnesses, it is crucial to stay up to date on their preventive care.

How can pets transmit diseases to humans?

Pets can transmit germs to humans through various means, including:

  • Direct contact: Coming into direct contact with an infected pet’s saliva, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids can result in disease transmission. For example, cleaning up your pet’s accident indoors or them licking a sore on your leg can lead to illness.

  • Indirect contact: Indirect transmission occurs when you come into contact with something that an infected pet has contaminated. For instance, if a stray cat uses your child’s sandbox as a litter box and your child digs in it afterward, they may contract a roundworm infection.

  • Vectors: Vectors such as ticks and fleas can be attracted to your pet and can carry disease-causing agents indoors, biting and transmitting diseases to humans.

  • Food: Consuming undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables contaminated with feces from an infected pet, are common causes of foodborne illnesses in both humans and pets.

  • Water: Drinking or coming into contact with water contaminated with feces or urine from an infected pet can result in diseases like giardia or leptospirosis being transmitted to humans.

What diseases can humans get from pets?

Pets can transmit numerous illnesses to humans, including:

  • Bacteria (leptospirosis, salmonella, E. coli, tick-borne diseases, cat scratch disease)
  • Viruses (rabies)
  • Fungi (ringworm)
  • Intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, toxoplasma)
  • External parasites (scabies, fleas, ticks)

This list is not exhaustive, so it is essential to practice good hygiene when handling your pet, cleaning up after them, and managing their belongings to prevent disease transmission.

Pets can transmit a wide range of pathogens and parasites to both human and animal family members. The best way to protect everyone in your household, whether two- or four-legged, is through regular preventive care. Contact our team to schedule your pet’s preventive care visit and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone.