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Illnesses that can be passed from pets to humans (zoonotic illnesses) 


Many illnesses and parasites can be spread from pets to humans, and from humans to pets. They best way to protect your health is to wash your hands after petting a pet, and after cleaning up excrement or vomit. Zooneses are illnesses that can pass from animal to human. Always wash vegetables before cooking them, even if you are giving the vegs to your pet. Anything that has been in soil is hazardous. 

Leptospirosis is a disease affecting the kidneys and/or liver. It can kill your pet. Pets can get it from other pets, and farm animals like pigs, horses, or cattle. It can also be spread by rodents like rats. It is spread through the body fluids, mainly urine. It can be got from water or ground that contains contaminated urine. To prevent leptospirosis, wash your hands after cleaning up dog mess, and keep shoes & gloves on in the garden.

Poisonous chemicals such as Frontline, Advantix, Spot-on, Karba Dust & other pesticides are used on the coats of dogs & cats. Wash your hands after petting a pet.

Worms can be spread from pets to humans. Tape worm can cause heart trouble in humans & can affect other organs eg liver, brain or eyes, forming cysts. Roundworm & hookworm can also be passed from pets to humans. Worms are picked up by humans walking on the ground where dogs have been. Roundworm eggs in dog feces can cause toxocariasis. Untreated toxocariasis can cause retinal damage and decreased vision. Dog feces can also contain hookworms that cause cuaneous larva migrans in humans.

A bite or scratch from an animal can cause tetanus, rabies, or blood poisoning.

Rabies can be contracted from being bitten by a rabid dog, cat, bat or fox and is usually fatal. Beware of approaching any animal that appears to be "wild."

Cat scratch disease (CSD) a bacterial disease results from  being bitten or scratched by a cat. Infection develops at the point of injury. Lymph nodes, especially those around the head, neck, and upper limbs, become swollen. About 40% of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives yet not show any signs of illness; you cannot tell which cats spread the disease. People with immunocompromised conditions are more likely than others to have complications of CSD. B. henselae has been found in fleas.

Brucellosis is an infectious disease of cattle, goats and pigs, caused by bacteria, and transmissable to man. 

The bubonic plague, which killed many people in London many years ago, was spread by rats. The rats carried a parasite which caused an infectious disease characterised by swellings and fever. These rats inhabited sewers and unhealthy places. Today, the rats we keep as pets are clean and it's highly unlikely that they would pose a health threat.

Other conditions include parrot fever & avian flu from bird droppings, ring worm (a fungus) & mange (skin trouble). 

Pregnant women and pets

Pregnant women should be careful when lifting heavy pets, or bags of dog food. They should also avoid unruly dogs who may jump up and knock them over.  Pregnant women are off balance because of the extra weight they carry. A fall is serious for a pregnant woman.

Cat, dog, & small mammal urine contains metals & substances harmful to pregnant women. We cannot avoid being splashed with urine while hosing kennels & we walk on the grass where dogs have been.

Toxoplasmosis is an illness got from cat litter. The cat buries its excrement in a litter box, so the toxin sticks to the catís paws and are spread on ground wherever the catsí paws touch. It is also present wherever cat litter is dumped. Toxo during pregnancy can have a devasting effect because the infection is passed from mother to baby and can cause serious defects in the unborn baby including mental retardation, cerebal palsy, deafness, microcephaly (unusually small head) or hydrocephalus (unusually large head due to pressure on the brain). Toxoplasmosis may cause the woman may suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth. An infant born with the disease can suffer from jaundice, an enlarged liver. Symptoms may only appear in the teens - mental disabilities, seizures, hearing loss, eye infections and blindness. 


"If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord and will do what is right in His sight, and will keep all his laws, I will put none of these diseases upon you, for I am the Lord that heals you."  Exodus 15, 26 

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