A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between humans and animals. According to the CDC, 60% of all human pathogens are zoonotic. Lawndale Veterinary Hospital encourages you to gain awareness about zoonotic diseases and understand some basic precautions that can be taken to minimize zoonotic disease risk.
What are some ways a person may be exposed to a zoonotic disease?
Through exposure to contaminated substances:
- Saliva, blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal
- Vector-borne (bitten by tick, mosquito, flea)
- Consumption of contaminated food or drink
What are some examples of zoonotic diseases?
- Roundworms (dog, cat)
- Hookworms (dog, cat)
- Giardia (dog, cat)
- Tapeworms (dog, cat)
- Rabies (dog, cat)
- Tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis, etc.
- Cat Scratch Fever
- Bordetella (uncommon – more potential in immunocompromised individuals)
- Ringworm (dog, cat)
- And the list goes on…
How can the risk of zoonotic disease transmission be minimized?
- Children under the age of five, pregnant women, the elderly, and immune-compromised patients are at an increased risk.
- Scoop your pet’s poop promptly (from the yard and litter box).
- Wash hands after handling pets, pet food, and pet waste.
- DO NOT feed raw meat diets to your pets!
- Prevent bites from mosquitos, ticks, and fleas.
- Avoid handling or interacting with wildlife.
- Cover sand boxes so outdoor cats will not use them as litter boxes.
- Keep your pet healthy through excellent nutrition and regular veterinary exams.
- Keep up with your pet’s preventive care:
We encourage you to discuss any concerns you may have about your pet and zoonotic diseases with our veterinarians. For any human related concerns, please contact your healthcare provider.
~Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS, MS