Unknown to many, not too many microbes make the cross-species journey, except in very rare cases. However, the few that do make that journey are often dangerous, and we need to protect both our pets and our own selves from them, by being aware of them. So, without further delay, here’s an overview of five diseases that can carry over from our beloved pets, afflicting us with serious conditions in the process.
No other disease is more infamous than rabies, as far as zoonoses are concerned. It is one of the worst, if not the worst disease that can affect a human from a dog, given that there is no cure and all cases of rabies are fatal for both the pets and the humans affected by the virus. It can be easily avoided by keeping your puppies and dogs vaccinated from day one though, which is how the disease has been almost eliminated in many parts of the United States. Read this article to know interesting facts about rabies and how to prevent both yourself and your dogs from getting the virus.
Salmonella is not exclusively a zoonosis mind you, but it most often is, given that several forms of the bacteria are found inside the intestinal tracts of animals. Bird droppings in water or food, and handling reptilian or even canine or feline pets without proper hygiene can lead to salmonellosis, aka severe food-poisoning. An even worse variant of the salmonella bacteria causes enteric fever, or typhoid, a potentially deadly, but curable disease. Salmonella can also be found in unpasteurized milk, which has killed many people in the past.
Toxoplasma may or may not be present in some feline fecal matter, but the good news is, it mostly does not afflict human beings under most circumstances. Unfortunately, pregnant women who have the parasite can end up infecting the fetus inside them. A human fetus is far more susceptible to toxoplasma, which means that this can lead to serious health complications for the developing baby, and in worst cases, even death.
Although the term plague can be used to designate any epidemic or pandemic with high rates of mortality among the infected, there is actually a disease called plague as well. It’s the infamous disease known by many names such as the Black Plague, the Bubonic Plague and the great Pestilence. It originated not from mice and rats, but a special type of flea which used to bite both rodents and humans alike. These insects were the original carriers of the yersinia pestis bacteria, but after being infected, a bite from the rodents would also allow the bacterial infection to spread and afflict humans. 25 million+ people died from the bubonic plague, but we do have effective antibacterial meds against the deadly bacteria today.
We did not include one very common skin infection on this list, because it’s not a serious issue. The fungal infection known as ringworm is a common skin infection that can easily spread from animals to humans, and vice versa. Treating ringworm is easy though, but you should act fast to stop it from spreading and becoming a scratchy, swollen nuisance for both you and your pet.