Zoonotic Diseases, what are those?!
July 20, 2016
Pets are a wonderful addition to any family. They share their playful spirits and are the most loyal companions. While giving us endless happiness and company, they have the potential to give us something that maybe we don’t want, a zoonotic disease.
What is a zoonotic disease?
A zoonotic disease is an infectious disease that can be transmitted between humans and animals. When having pets in the house, it is important to be aware of what diseases your cat or dog can spread to you, and vice versa. This is important to ensure the help of both yourself and your pet.
How are these diseases transmitted?
There are five types of zoonotic disease that can be spread: Bacterial, Parasitic, Fungal, Protozoal, and Viral. There are several forms of transmission and it is important to be aware of all possible vectors.
For example, some zoonotic diseases can be transmitted through fleas and ticks. This is why it is important to keep your pet on flea and tick prevention such as NexGard or Frontline. You can purchase these products at our clinic or online. NexGard is an oral chewable tablet, and Frontline is topically applied to the skin in-between the shoulder blades. Both are required to be given once a month while the ground is unfrozen.
Another possible route of transmission is through direct contact with secretions or excretions, such as feces, urine or saliva. This in turn can also lead to transmission through water or food that was contaminated by the infected animal. It is important to feed your pet a cooked or processed diet, as raw meat can be a possible source of disease. It is also important to thoroughly wash hands after handling your pet’s feces or urine.
How can I protect myself?
The good news is that most zoonotic diseases have minimal threat and the spread of them can easily be prevented. Here are some tips to help protect yourself and your pet:
- Wash your hands before and after cleaning the litter box or scooping poop
- Scoop litter box every day and disinfect box weekly
- Administer flea and tick prevention to your pet each month (frontline or nexgard)
- Wash your hands before eating and after handling a pet
- Monitor scratches or bites from your pet and if they seem infected, go to the doctor
- Feed your pet cooked/processed food and avoid feeding them raw or wild diets
- Maintain wellness exams and check a fecal sample annually
- Keep your cats indoors
- Automatically deworm all puppies and kittens at their first appointment
- Keep your pet’s rabies vaccine updated
Contributed by Justine Jones, Veterinary Assistant (and soon to be vet student) at Grand Avenue Veterinary Center