As you already know, there are many benefits of owning a pet, but you also know that pets can have health issues that can affect you as well. Most of these problems are manageable, but some can potentially cause serious health issues to you or your pet if they're not caught early. Here are three ways that your pet's health problems can transfer to you.
As a pet owner, you're well aware that your pet can get parasites such as fleas and ticks, but there is a myriad of other, more dangerous parasites that can affect your pets. Roundworm, ringworm and giardia are three of the more common parasites that can be transmitted from pets to humans. All of these can cause serious health issues including vision and organ damage with roundworm and intestinal and skin problems with ringworm and giardia. The symptoms are the same for pets and humans. Most cases are contracted through the handling of pet feces and are easy to prevent with good hygiene and proper waste disposal.
Your pet can transfer bacteria without showing symptoms of being infected themselves. One of these types of transferable bacteria is salmonella. Though most people associate salmonella with birds and eggs, mammals and reptiles can also carry the bacteria. Another commonly known bacteria that affects humans is the Bartonela henselae bacteria which causes "cat scratch fever." Like the name suggests, this bacterial infection is transferred by cat scratches. Leptospirosis is another common bacteria in the environment that can be transferred from pet to humans and cause rash and intestinal issues.
The type of viruses you can catch from an animal vary from species to species. Influenza can sometimes jump from poultry and pigs to humans, for example. The most serious virus that humans can catch from their pets is the easily preventable rabies. A recent study has shown that dogs are capable of contracting the highly contagious norovirus, or stomach flu, but the study didn't go as far to say that they are able to spread it to their owners. In general, most of the common viruses that pets get will not make humans sick.
Fortunately, most of these health issues are preventable through good hygiene, vaccinations and pest control. Take precautions when handling pet waste and bodily fluids. Have your pet examined at your veterinary hospital regularly and get treatment if your pet gets ill and both your pet and you should have many healthy years to come.