Can Your Pets Be Making You Sick?

Around 60 million pet dogs and 70 million pet cats are in the United States and we love our animals dearly, but could they be making you sick? This post today is going to give you information about diseases commonly passed from our pets to us and what you can do to prevent the disease. I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope it helps you build a stronger relationship with your pet!
The number of pets has been increasing rapidly in the past 10 years, so it is no surprise that so has our risk of disease and sickness. Another thing happening across the country is the introduction of exotic pets – ones that are non-native to the United States. These animals are imported from other countries and carry a risk for disease as well. Let’s start by going over the different types of infections we can catch from our furry friends.

** Parasitic infections: cat owners are probably most familiar with this category. Cats can spread a parasitic infection to humans through their feces. This usually occurs when cleaning out a littler box or gardening in soil with contaminated feces.

** Fungal infections: you may be surprised to learn that you could catch ringworm from your puppy or kitten. They can be contracted by petting the animal, or touching contaminated bedding or toys.

** Bacterial infections: probably the most serious is Salmonella. This can be passed from turtles, lizards, snakes, and baby ducklings or chicks.

Besides these three common infections, there are new risks to humans. They include diseases such as Monkeypox and MRSA. Monkeypox was found in humans in 2003 and was traced to a group of prairie dogs and other small rodents imported from Africa.

MRSA is a type of staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin or methicillin. Only a small number of these cases have been reported, but it has been found that infected humans can pass MRSA to their pets who can pass it on to other people.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?
First and foremost, you need to be aware of the different diseases and their symptoms. Try to keep up to date with the latest medical pet news and read about new disease as much as possible. Through wide-spread knowledge, we can spread awareness about these diseases. You should be sure and tell your doctor what types of animals you are living with. Keep the lines of communication open with your veterinarian. Ask plenty of questions about your pets health and if your pet is sick, be sure to ask the vet if you are at risk for catching a strain of the disease. Make sure you are taking your new pet for all their necessary shots and dewormers. Keep them up to date on their scheduled vaccinations. Give prompt and immediate care to a sick pet. Ignoring any health problems your pet may have will only make the situation worse. Wash your hands throughly after petting your animal or handling it’s feces. This is one of the main ways infections can pass to humans – so wash your hands!! If you are a cat owner – change your cat’s litter box every day! Women who are pregnant or people with a compromised immune system should keep their cats indoors and avoid touching the cat litter.
If you are reading this, and you don’t have a pet, I’ve got some tips for you too! If you are thinking about getting a pet here are some things to keep in mind:
Adopt from a reputable shelter, or purchase from a licensed breeder. Sales made over the Internet are usually illegal and the animals may be imported from another country. Think carefully before buying an exotic pet. Although they can be very exciting, they also carry a risk for disease. Discuss any concerns you may have with a veterinarian and your doctor. DO NOT ADOPT WILD ANIMALS AS PETS. Wild animals such as wolves, raccoons, etc. can be extremely dangerous – not to mention disease carrying. You just don’t know where they have been, or what types of diseases they have been exposed to. You are better off sticking with an adopted animal from your local Humane Society!