Diseases From Your Pet

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If you have a pet there is no doubt you love it with all your heart. However, did you know that there are several diseases we can get from our pets?

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Not to fear though, if you educate yourself on these diseases most of them can be prevented.

1. Salmonella

This bacteria lives in the intestines of many different animals. Animals that carry this often carry it in their feces but it can contaminate their feathers or fur. Some scaled animals can also carry it on their scales.

Humans pick it up by touching the animal and then not washing their hands. Symptoms of Salmonella include a fever, diarrhea and stomach pain. Always wash your hands after touching your pet.

2. Toxoplasmosis

This is a disease associated with cats and their environment. It is a parasitic disease in which most people who are infected with it don’t get sick but those who do get sick from it experience muscle aches, swollen glands or other flu-like symptoms.

Humans get toxoplasmosis from contaminated cat feces. Once again to reduce your chances of getting this always wash your hands thoroughly after touching your cat or their surroundings.

3. Brucellosis

This is a bacterial disease that one may get from dogs and farm animals. Humans can get it if they come in contact with an infected animal.

Symptoms of brucellosis include headache, fever, fatigue, chills, weakness, sweats and back, joint and muscle pain. As you can see, these are very much flu-like symptoms and it would be difficult to know you had this unless a physician diagnosed it.

Treatment for this includes six weeks of antibiotics and other medicines and therapies to reduce the symptoms.  In some people the symptoms may disappear for weeks, months or years and then return.

Some people suffer from this chronically even after they are treated. Farmers and veterinarians, because of their jobs, are more likely to get it.

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4. Rabies

This is probably the disease that most people are familiar with as a disease that humans can get from animals. It’s a viral disease that is passed from one mammal to another. It is passed from the saliva of cats, dogs, horses and other mammals found in the wild.

Wild animals are much more likely to have rabies, but cats and dogs can pass it to humans if an infected animal bites them. Animals most likely to transmit rabies in the United States are bats, foxes, coyotes, skunks and raccoons.

In less developed countries, stray dogs are the most likely to spread rabies. Symptoms of rabies include fever, sleepiness, headache, confusion and agitation.  Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal.

Vaccinations should be kept up to date for all dogs, cats and ferrets to reduce the chances of getting rabies. Pets should be kept under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with babies of children.

5. Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease is also known as Teeny’s disease or cat scratch fever.  It is a benign infectious disease caused by the bacterium Baronella Henselae or Bartonella Quintana, transmitted when you are scratched or bitten by a cat.

The first symptom is usually a swollen lymph node at the site of the scratch or the bite. Other symptoms include chills, joint and muscle pains, headache, backache, abdominal pain, and arthritis.

Cat scratch disease will usually go away within one month whether you get treatment or not. If your child gets scratched by a cat, make sure you wash and clean the wound thoroughly.

6. Psittacosis

If you have a pet bird such as a cockatiel, parakeet, parrot or macaw and it becomes infected, you might get psittacosis.

It is the dried secretions of these infected birds, when inhaled by humans that transmits this disease. Symptoms of this disease include a dry cough, fever, headache, chills and general muscle aches.

To make sure you and the kids don’t get it, avoid overcrowding birds. Feed them properly and clean their cages out daily. It is also important that you provide a good ventilation system.

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