“Man’s best friend” is a common saying that has been used over the years to refer to the close relationship that dogs have shared with humans over the centuries. And while keeping a pet provides us with companionship, entertainment or even security, those that own a pet be it a cat, dog, house rabbit etc. will tell you the emotional and physical benefits you get as a result is simply priceless.
However, did you know that your beloved pet could harbor diseases that could be transmitted from animals to humans and end up killing you?
Here’s a list of some of the most common and deadly zoonotic diseases that you can get from your pet which if not treated appropriately and in good time, could result in deadly consequences.
Parasites that affect both your pets and you could either be internal such as hookworms and roundworms, or external such as ticks and fleas.
Roundworms look like spaghetti and could be as long as 4 inches! The parasite can be passed from animal to animal through ways such as kittens sucking infected milk or a cat feeding on an infected rodent. In humans it mostly affects children and could in fact lead to blindness.
Hookworms which are also internal parasites feed by attaching themselves to the intestines of dogs and lead to the loss of blood especially in puppies. Stepping on the feces of a pet that’s infected is enough to get infected with this parasitic illness as the eggs transfer through your skin.
Ticks and Fleas are examples of external parasites that can be carried by our pet animals. They can carry Lyme disease among other infections that can also affect human beings.
The Salmonella bacterium is an intestinal bacteria that can be carried in the feces of reptiles, amphibians, dogs, cats, rodents and poultry. When an infected animal passes stool, it can contaminate their body parts including feathers, scales or fur which is then released into the environment they live in, which is inside our homes!
This zoonotic disease’s symptoms in human beings ranges from stomach ache, fever, nausea and headache with those most at risk including infants, children under five, adults over 65 and people whose immunities are weakened including those undergoing chemotherapy, persons living with HIV and patients of organ transplant.
Do you love to cuddle or share a bed with your cat or dog? Well, this could be dangerous to your health as you could easily acquire ringworms from your pet animal.
Ringworms are a contagious fungus that can live on the skin of your pet dog or cat though the spores can survive on their own for several months. And while the symptoms of ringworms include an itchy and scaly rash that resembles a ring, your pet might be playing host to these dangerous fungus even without showing any symptom.
This bacterial disease which is also known as parrot fever, is transmitted by birds and presents in humans through flu like symptoms. The scary thing about this infection is that you might not realize the seriousness of your illness until all your key organs including the liver, heart and kidneys have been affected.
Birds including cockatiels, pigeons, sparrows, hens, gulls, and ducks are likely reservoirs of this dangerous bacteria and once affected by this zoonotic infectious disease, they can then be pass it to human beings.
The disease which affects the lungs is acquired through breathing in bacteria from an infected bird’s droppings, secretions of even dust from feathers.
This is a bacterial disease that can affect both animals and human beings. While the disease’s symptoms include mild flu-like symptoms such as chills, muscle pain and headache, if not treated on time, the disease can lead to meningitis, liver failure or even death.
You can get this disease by coming into contact with urine contaminated soil or water and then proceeding to touch your face and specifically your mouth. The infected urine is usually from animals such as rodents, dogs and pigs.
How to Avoid These Diseases
Keep Your Home Clean:
Make it a routine to vacuum your home on a daily basis. This is an important step to keeping fungus at bay. You are also advised to throw out the vacuum cleaner bag one you finish vacuuming your home. Find out the Best vacuum for pet hair to choose the best one and Keep your home dust and disease free.
In addition to the above, also ensure to regularly wash your home’s hard surfaces and your pet grooming equipment with some diluted bleach.
It is also advisable to maintain clean carpets and home furniture through steam cleaning as well as cleaning your pet’s bedding using sanitizing cleaners. After washing your pet’s bedding in hot water, it is generally advisable to resist the temptation to share the blankets and grooming tools with others. This greatly reduces chances of your pet harboring ringworms.
Remember to Wash Hands after Handling Your Pet:
While we focus on keeping the home clean, we should also bear in mind that after handling a cat or dog and also after cleaning our pet’s litter box, our hands are exposed to bacteria and parasites such as Roundworms. Hand washing should greatly help with reducing this risk.
Washing your hands is also advisable after handling your reptile, amphibian or chicken pet.
Don’t Leave Feces Lying In the Yard:
Another great tip that will assist you to avoid these diseases and specifically keeping worms from affecting your life is developing a habit of picking up the pet dog’s feces immediately the pet relieves itself and especially in the yard. Doing this helps in preventing parasite eggs from hatching and causing you harm.
Keep Checking Your Pet:
While parasites might be hard to spot sometimes, you should try and do your part by checking your pet on a frequent basis and even more when it has spent some time outdoors.
Avoid Pet Licking You on the Face:
Animals have bacteria living in their mouths, so avoid being licked on the face by your pet at all costs.
So now that you are more equipped with the facts, you can go ahead and live happily with your pet without having to put your health or that of your loved ones at risk. Enjoy the companionship!