Identifying Possible Risks: Common Infections Transmissible from Animals to Humans

Zoonotic infections, which can be transmitted from pets to humans, are more common than you might believe. Your pet may look to be in perfect health, but they may be carrying an infectious disease, so keep up with their preventive care to avoid getting numerous ailments.

How might my pet infect me with diseases?

Pets can spread germs to humans in a variety of ways, including:

  • Direct contact — Direct contact with saliva, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids from an infected pet can result in the transmission of disease. If you clean up your pet’s accident inside, or they lick a sore on your leg, you can contract an illness.
  • Indirect contact — Indirect disease transmission occurs when you come in contact with something an infected pet has contaminated. For example, if your child digs in their sandbox after a stray cat has used it as a litter box, they may contract a roundworm infection.
  • Vectors — Vectors, like ticks and fleas, can be attracted to your pet and be carried indoors to bite and transmit disease to you.
  • Food — Undercooked meat, eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables contaminated with feces from an infected pet are some of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in people and their pets.
  • Water — Drinking or coming in contact with water contaminated with feces or urine can result in diseases such as giardia or leptospirosis being passed to you.

What diseases might my pet transmit to me?

Many infections can be transmitted from pets to humans via:

  • Bacteria (leptospirosis, salmonella, E. coli, tick-borne disease, cat scratch disease)
  • Viruses (rabies)
  • Fungi (ringworm)
  • Intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, toxoplasma)
  • External parasites (scabies, fleas, ticks)

This is not an entire list; therefore, to prevent illness transmission, always practice excellent hygiene when handling your pet, their waste, and their possessions.

Pets can transmit various illnesses and parasites to human and animal family members. Regular preventative care is the most effective approach to protecting everyone in your household, two- and four-legged. Call us to schedule your pet’s preventive care visit so that everyone stays safe and healthy.