Someone truly said, “A house is not a home, without a pet.” Pets are a bundle of joy, wrapped in fur. We simply adore them. But sometimes they make us sick, in the literal sense. Pets and even farm animals can spread diseases (zoonoses) to their owners. These disease can be harmless, but some are fatal, if untreated. Therefore, let’s have a look at 6 common diseases that we can get from our pets or farm animals.
At some point in their life, your cat can carry a disease-causing bacterium called B. henselae. Your cat probably won’t show any signs of infection. This infection can spread if your cat scratches or bites you. People who develop catch scratch disease develop a mild infection, fever, and fatigue. Moreover, this illness can be severe for people who have weak immunity. Avoid rough play with your cat, doing so may prevent the disease.
If you have a bird pet, you too can fall ill. Psittacosis is a disease caused by breathing in dust from dried droppings of infected birds. It can be spread by parrots, pigeons, ducks, hens, turkeys and other birds as well. Pet store workers are at special risk. Psittacosis lasts for 1-3 weeks. The symptoms include dry cough, fever, chills and diarrhoea. Good news is that antibiotics can cure you and your pet too.
This is another disease caused by the faeces of an infected dog, cat or even a farm animal. It is a parasitic disease which can be contracted if you are in contact with the poop of your pet. The symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. It usually goes away without treatment. However, if a person’s immune system is already compromised, then it can be deadly. Toxoplasmosis is a similar disease caused by cat faeces.
Hookworm is a parasite that lives inside the small intestines of infected cats and dogs. The humans can contract this parasite through its eggs that is found in contaminated faeces. If the hookworm enters your skin, you can get painful and itchy infections. If it enters your body, you may experience abdominal pain, inflammation and intestinal bleeding. However, the good thing is that this ailment can be cured with anti-parasite drugs.
If you live on a farm or take farm products, then you and even your pets can get brucellosis. It is usually transmitted by consuming the milk of an infected cow or goat. It is also possible to get brucellosis, if you have a cut on your skin and you come in contact with an infected animal’s blood or saliva. The milk-giving animal is infected by a bacterium called Brucella. If you or your pet dog (or cat) gets infected with the bacterium, you may develop body pain and flu-like symptoms.
Rabies is the notorious of all animal to human disease. The rabies virus spreads by the bite of an infected dog. It can also be caused if you get bitten by rabid skinks, bats, raccoons and foxes. The symptoms begin with a flu. If not treated, one may experience hallucinations, agitation and partial paralysis. In later stages, one may get afraid of liquids, and would not even drink water (hydrophobia).Fortunately, a rabies vaccine is available, which requires 3-5 shots in the shoulder.