Top 10 Zoonotic Diseases You Can Get From Your Pet

Top 10 Zoonotic Diseases You Can Get From Your Pet

So you brought home a new pet, and he or she is the cutest creature on the planet. But what if you also happened to bring home a health threat? Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. They are the threat that lurks in the shadows of pets. Here are the top 10 zoonotic diseases you can get from your pets. Though zoonotic diseases are responsible for more than 13,000 human deaths each year, they aren’t so dangerous or deadly that they can’t be avoided.

Cat Scratch Disease

If your cat decides to scratch you, you can get cat scratch disease. It’s actually caused by a virus that starts in cats’ mouths and spreads to humans through close contact. Cat Scratch Disease can cause pain and itching and, in the worst cases, can be fatal. That said, most patients get better after seven to 10 days. Though it’s rare, cats can contract the disease by inhaling or licking infected cat feces or rubbing up against infected cats’ paws. They can also acquire the disease by touching their noses to infected cat feces. If your cat has recently gotten his or her shots, then he or she should be fine, but cats can get this disease even if they haven’t been vaccinated.


This intestinal parasite, also known as gastroparesis or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, primarily affects pigs, cats and dogs. In this parasite, some of the parasite’s eggs get into the small intestine and stay there to grow. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infection with Giardia is most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, and it’s most commonly contracted when people swallow water contaminated by the parasite. Zoonotic Giardiasis Symptoms Most people infected with Giardia will not notice symptoms, according to the CDC. These people can develop symptoms after a few weeks or months later. The CDC reports that 80 to 85 percent of people infected with Giardia don’t show any symptoms.


Babesiosis Blastomycosis Snakebite Pseudomonas aeruginosa Borrelia Snakes Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) Heartworms Leptospirosis Lyme disease Snakebite Feline panleukopenia To avoid any unnecessary pet-to-human contact with infected animals, check your local health department for a list of licensed veterinary facilities that do not offer recreational or wild animals for entertainment purposes. Conclusion Zoonotic diseases aren’t necessarily airborne, and in most cases your dog will not suddenly start sneezing or scratching when they’re walking with you. But humans have a tendency to put their pets in an uncomfortable position when we interact with them too much, and pets get frustrated and aggressive when this happens.


Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria, leptospira, transmitted through water and animal waste. It can cause kidney damage, kidney failure, meningitis, liver damage and gastrointestinal issues. Leptospirosis symptoms usually show up within five days of being exposed, so its important to know what to look for. Signs can include high fever, chills, headache, vomiting, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and purple spots or bruises. If left untreated, leptospirosis can lead to kidney failure, meningitis and even death. Leptospirosis can be spread through urine, feces and saliva coming in contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids.


This virus can be transmitted from animals to humans via bites, licks and contact with saliva. While rabies is most dangerous for people who are exposed to infected dogs and cats, the virus can be transmitted in many other ways, including through the bite of a bat, a fox or a snake. Rabies can be eliminated from the wild population through disease control measures, but a person who is exposed to a rabid animal has only a one in six chance of surviving. In a rare case, a human can die from the virus. While the disease is treatable, treatment can take a long time and has to be continuous, because rabies leads to organ failure. The good news is that rabies is a preventable disease with a vaccine. The vaccine is available at most hospitals.


What it does: causes skin infection Status: good How it’s transmitted: pet to pet Cost: no treatment Dogs are the most common hosts of ringworm. It’s caused by a fungus and infects the skin, hair, and nails. If left untreated, ringworm can spread to other parts of the body, and when it does, can cause serious skin infections. But dogs can contract ringworm from other dogs, people and even other species. It’s recommended that dogs should be thoroughly bathed, and not allowed to shake hands or kisses. Cat Scratch Fever What it does: the flu for your cat Status: bad How it’s transmitted: via scratches or bites Cost: no treatment Cat scratch fever is caused by the same virus as viral hepatitis. It is transmitted via biting of the cat’s paws or scratching of its fur.


Like all heartworms, Ophidiobothriides spp. worms are transmitted to humans when an infected dog bites an infected cat. When the cat dies, the worms enter the bloodstream of the recipient. Fortunately, the blood stream is sterile, so humans who are bitten by infected dog or cat will develop no signs of infection. It can be difficult to get the disease once you’re infected, and then even more difficult to get rid of the worms. Worms don’t infect people as often as the infection in animals do, but they can be difficult to treat. Fortunately, there’s a relatively new drug treatment for zoonotic roundworms. Tetanus You might think tetanus is a disease for years ago, but actually, the deadly disease is still spreading in the U.S. Currently, three to five cases are reported every day.

Sarcoptic Mange

In dogs and cats, the mite Sarcoptic Mange, or Sarcoptes scabiei, causes scabs on the fur and open sores on the skin. Though it can’t be cured, it can be treated with common medicines. There is no evidence that S. scabiei is transmitted to humans. Foxsnake-bite Fever Also called “smoke snake” fever, foxsnake fever can affect any region where foxes are found. It is usually brought on by a bite from the snake, but it can also occur after eating certain parts of the animal. It isn’t usually fatal, but it can be spread through blood transfusions or through infected saliva. Dogs, cats and ferrets are the most common infected animals, but people can also contract the disease from an infected fox or snake bite.

Tick-Borne Diseases

Pet-to-human transmissions are rare, but ticks can transmit several different tick-borne diseases to people. The most common of these is Lyme disease, which is transmitted by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The most commonly reported cases in the US occurred in dogs. In many cases, the bacteria can be transmitted to people in areas that are covered by forest, grass, and scrub-dominated areas. Leptospirosis Leptospirosis is spread through exposure to the urine, urine-stained surfaces, and open wounds of infected animals. However, infected rats and mice may also pose a risk. Birds are also capable of spreading the disease. The illness is also known to be a serious problem in tropical and subtropical regions where the animals are more common.


Toxoplasmosis is the result of eating undercooked meat from undercooked meat from undercooked meat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Most people infected with Toxoplasmosis never experience any symptoms. But some people will have a mild to moderate illness with flu-like symptoms like flu-like symptoms. They may have body aches, have a fever, or get a headache, reported the Mayo Clinic. In some people, these symptoms will get worse and progress to confusion, vomiting, fatigue, and jaundice. Only people with compromised immune systems, those who are pregnant, or people with multiple other health conditions that weaken their immune system may become very sick.

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