July 14, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

What seven diseases can you get from pets?

We love them. All. With no exceptions. Someone who doesn’t like animals definitely has an “open question”, unresolved internal problems with himself, society and nature in general.

But just because we love pets and keep them in our home does not mean that we don’t need to take care of our health.

“We don’t live in a sterile environment, and animals that become pets and part of our family bring in some microorganisms,” says Dr. Susan Rehm, vice chair of infectious diseases at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. And he adds: “Sometimes we we can catch the disease from our pet

Older people, very young people, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable, according to a review of 500 individual studies published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association. Here are 7 diseases that a person can get from a pet, and what you need to know about them:

1. Ringworm in small dogs and kittens.

Young animals are more likely to transmit this disease to humans. Ringworm is caused by a fungus and causes a scaly, reddish, circular rash on the skin in people. Some adult pets, usually cats, often have no symptoms of ringworm. But you can easily become infected by touching an infected animal or even its bedding. The fungus is also present in garden soil where cats and dogs may have defecated. If you have ringworm, you can use a topical antifungal ointment. In some more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe pills.

2. Roundworms, nematodes and tape parasites.

Most puppies and kittens are born with roundworms, so they should be checked regularly and treated accordingly. Roundworm eggs can survive for up to a month in moist environments such as sand and soil where pets defecate. If you touch contaminated sand and then don’t wash your hands, you could swallow eggs without even noticing. If someone is infected with roundworm eggs, they may experience vision problems, heart problems, lung problems, and even neurological symptoms. Intestinal toxocariasis, a disease caused by roundworms, is treated with antiparasitic drugs.

Hookworm in domestic animals, usually dogs and cats, is a parasitic disease. A person can become infected if hookworm larvae from contaminated soil penetrate the skin. The infection is not serious and usually goes away on its own, or you may be given anti-parasitic treatment.

Tapeworm can be transmitted by fleas living on an animal when it licks its fur and ingests an infected flea. The pet can then infect a person, although the risk is low. If your skin comes into contact with your animal’s anus, the parasite can be passed on to you. You may experience gastrointestinal symptoms and unexplained weight loss. You will have to undergo a course of treatment with pills.

3. Salmonella from domestic reptiles.

Many people prefer to get a lizard, snake or other reptiles instead of dogs and cats. In this case, they are at greater risk of contracting a disease such as salmonellosis, caused by the salmonella bacterium. In addition to snakes and lizards, the bacteria in question are carried by turtles and iguanas. Salmonella causes no symptoms in animals, but can cause problems in humans (diarrhea, fever and seizures) that last about a week.

4. Bird psittacosis.

Pet birds, such as parrots, can become infected with the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci and pass it on to you. People can become infected by inhaling dried waste from infected birds, even if the birds themselves show no symptoms at all. Symptoms you may experience include fever, chills, muscle aches and dry cough. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic such as tetracycline or doxycycline.

5. Toxoplasmosis of cats.

The parasite, called toxoplasma, is transmitted to humans through feces in sand that a pet defecates if it is infected. This is a particularly dangerous disease for the unborn child. If a woman becomes infected with this parasite during pregnancy, it can cause genetic diseases in the fetus.

6. Avian tuberculosis.

Poultry can become infected with tuberculosis (Mycobacterium avium complex), but the disease may be asymptomatic. However, the bacillus is transmitted to humans by airborne droplets (through the respiratory tract). The disease resembles tuberculosis and “affects” the lungs, but, fortunately, is very rare. It is almost impossible to become infected with it unless you have a weakened immune system. The infection is difficult to treat and is often resistant to antibiotics.

7. Leptospirosis due to contaminated pet urine.

Leptospira is a bacterium found in the urine of infected animals such as dogs, mice, rats and squirrels. It can be transmitted to humans through direct or indirect contact with contaminated urine. The bacterium can survive in water or soil for a week to a month. If your dog walks through a yard that has contaminated urine and then enters the house, it could introduce bacteria and you could become infected with leptospirosis. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, chills and rash. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure. This disease can be treated with antibiotics (doxycycline or penicillin).

ATTENTION: All of the above diseases are treatable and do not pose a serious problem for human health. However, they help us realize how important it is to take care of the health of our pets, since in this way we protect our own. Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly and always follow the veterinarian’s recommendations.

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