Diseases That You Can Contract From Your Pets

It’s no doubt that we love our pets, those cute puppy faces, the stubborn independence of our cats and the high pitch shrills from our excited parrots, however, caring for a pet does not only come in the form love and food, it also means taking preventative measures for both your and your pet’s health. If you have not taken the steps to get your pet vaccinated or you decided to wait out diarrhea or vomiting instead of taking them to the vet, you may also be risking your own health. Believe it or not, you could catch a few illnesses from your pet that you weren’t even aware of.

The first step any new pet owner should be taking is to ensure that your immune system is healthy and strong. There are a variety of natural supplements and healthy diets that can help rev up your immune system. For more information on all the latest health superfoods, you can check out Authority Health.

Let’s move onto the illnesses. If your pet is showing any symptoms mentioned below. Make sure you take them to the vet as soon as possible and get yourself tested as well.

Ringworm

This is the most common infection passed on from pets to humans. While ringworm has the word ‘worm’ in its name, it is in fact a fungal infection called tinea and not an actual worm. Usually, the infection is spread via direct contact of the animal’s hair or skin. If you have contracted ringworm, it is also contagious to others and can be transmitted via direct contact of the skin, bath towels and gym equipment to name a few.

If your pet has any of the following symptoms, they may have ringworm:

  • Bald patches which are circular
  • Redness of the skin
  • Itchy, dry, or crusty patches
  • Darkened skin

These are the symptoms you should look for if you suspect you have ringworm as well:

  • Circular patches that are red and scaly
  • Itchiness
  • Patches that have a raised border in the shape of a ring
  • If it is on the scalp or under a beard, it may cause the hair to fall out

Antifungal medications are usually administered topically or orally in order to inhibit the fungi from growing and spreading any further, your doctor will prescribe the treatment based on the severity of the infection.  Your vet may prescribe a medicated shampoo or ointment depending on the severity of the infection that your pet has.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a disease caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted by a tick bite.  It is always advisable to check your pet for any ticks and fleas especially after a walk or if you have been on a hike in long grass because the same tick that has bitten your pet could easily make its way to you.

If your pet has any of the following symptoms, they may have Lyme Disease:

  • Limping, lameness and other mobility differences
  • Lethargy
  • Hyperthermia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Joint stiffness or soreness
  • Increased thirst

These are the symptoms you should look for if you suspect you have been bitten as well:

  • A rash that resembles a bull’s eye
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Weakened limbs

If you do have Lyme disease, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and pain medication. If you find a tick on your dog, have your vet remove it, they will also prescribe antibiotics if needed.

Roundworm

Almost 10,000 children are diagnosed with this condition annually. Unlike ringworm, roundworm is in fact a spaghetti-like worm which lives freely in the intestines and is transferred from your pets if you have been in contact with soil where the animal has passed feces or kitty litter. Sandpits for children are usually the culprit because stray cats often use them as their own personal litter box. If this is left untreated, it could lead to eye, heart, lung and neurological complications.

If your pet has any of the following symptoms, they may have roundworm:

  • Malnourishment
  • Potbelly or bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Visible worms in the vomit or stools

These are the symptoms you should look for if you suspect you or your child have come into contact with the infected feces:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

If you suspect you may have roundworm, your doctor will usually administer antiparasitic medication if there are worms or eggs present in your stool sample. In worst case scenarios, you may require surgery if the infestation has caused a blockage in your intestines. If you suspect your pet has a roundworm infestation, take them to the vet immediately. Your vet will deworm the animal and recommend heartworm medication monthly which will help prevent any future infestations.

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