Understanding Zoonotic Diseases: Protecting Your Health and Your Pet’s Well-being

Zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted from pets to humans, are more common than you might realize. Even seemingly healthy pets can carry these diseases, making it crucial to stay proactive with their preventive care to safeguard against various illnesses.

How do pets transmit diseases to humans?

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

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

Indirect contact: Disease transmission occurs when you come into contact with something contaminated by an infected pet. For instance, if a stray cat uses your child’s sandbox as a litter box, they may contract a roundworm infection.

Vectors: Ticks and fleas, attracted to your pet, can enter your home and bite you, transmitting diseases.

Food: Consuming undercooked meat, eggs, or contaminated raw produce (e.g., fruits, vegetables) soiled by an infected pet’s feces is a common cause of foodborne illnesses.
Water: Drinking or contacting water contaminated with feces or urine from an infected pet can lead to diseases like giardia or leptospirosis.

Which diseases can be transmitted from pets to humans?

Pets can transmit a range of illnesses to humans, including:

  • Bacterial infections (e.g., leptospirosis, salmonella, E. coli, tick-borne diseases, cat scratch disease)
  • Viral infections (e.g., rabies)
  • Fungal infections (e.g., ringworm)
  • Intestinal parasites (e.g., roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, toxoplasma)
  • External parasites (e.g., scabies, fleas, ticks)

This list is not exhaustive, highlighting the importance of practicing good hygiene when handling your pet, their waste, and their belongings to prevent disease transmission.

To protect both your human and animal family members, regular preventive care is essential. Contact our team to schedule your pet’s preventive care visit and ensure the well-being of everyone in your household, both two- and four-legged.