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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Understanding Zoonosis

Understanding Zoonosis

pet health zoonosis

Understanding Zoonosis

Did you know? The term zoonosis applies to diseases including bacteria, viruses and parasites that can be passed from pets to people. Good hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of illness between your pets and your family. Thorough hand washing with soap and water after handling your pet, or cleaning your pet habitats, is essential.

Step 1Zoonosis Basics

Understanding Zoonosis
• This term applies to all diseases that can be passed from pets to humans.

• All pets have the potential of spreading zoonotic diseases.

• Illness can be spread by bacteria, fungus, viruses or parasites entering the mouth, through the air, or by a break on the skin.

• Some zoonotic bacteria, viruses and parasites can be normal inhabitants of your pet’s digestive or respiratory systems.

• Some bacteria, viruses and parasites that are zoonotic do not cause disease in pets but can affect humans, so veterinary examinations and fecal testing are recommended to evaluate your pet’s health.

• Fleas, ticks, mites and lice may also be transferred from your pet to family members.

Who’s at Risk?
• Infants, young children, pregnant women and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infection and should use extra caution when in contact with pets or pet habitats.

• Young children have higher risk of developing zoonotic diseases because their immune systems are still developing and they’re more likely to put their fingers or other items in their mouths.

Preventing Zoonosis
• If a bite occurs, hold the wound under running water for 5 min. and disinfect with iodine or triple antibiotic ointment. Contact a physician after initial cleaning. If a serious bite occurs, call emergency assistance.

• Always wash hands thoroughly after handling any pet, habitat or items within a habitat.

• An anti-bacterial hand sanitizer should be used if soap and water are unavailable.

• Pets should not be housed in kitchens, allowed on food preparation areas, or bathed in the kitchen sink.

• Avoid contact with pet habitats if you have cuts or open sores on your hands.

 

Step 2Zoonotic Disease Types

DISEASE

Select Zoonotic Diseases

TYPE PETS AFFECTED

CHLAMYDOPHILA PSITTACI

'Psittacosis"

BACTERIAL BIRDS

INTESTINAL BACTERIA

(SALMONELLA, E COLI, CAMPYLOBACTER)

BACTERIAL AMPHIBIANS, BIRDS, FISH, MAMMALS, REPTILES

MYCOBACTERIUM

"Fish Handler's Disease"

BACTERIAL FISH
RINGWORM FUNGAL CATS, DOGS, GUINEA PIGS
PROTOZOA: (GIARDIA AND CRYPTOSPORIDIUM) WORMS: (TAPEWORMS, ROUNDWORMS, HOOKWORMS) INTESTINAL PARASITES MAMMALS AND REPTILES
EXTERNAL PARASITES FLEAS, MITES AND LICE EXTERNAL PARASITES MAMMALS
RAT BITE FEVER BACTERIAL RATS
LYMPHOCYTIC CHORIOMENINGITIS VIRUS VIRAL SMALL MAMMALS

 

Step 3Safety Recommendations

Pets and Children
• Many pets are not suitable for children under 5 years of age.

• Children should always be supervised around pets.

• Children should be supervised as they wash their hands after interacting with your pet or the habitat.

• Children should not be the primary caregivers for pets and should not be solely responsible for
cleaning habitats or picking up after pets.

• Do not allow children to kiss pets or put pets into their mouths.

• Children should avoid contact with pet habitats if they have cuts or open sores on their hands.

Partner With Your Vet

Vaccines & Preventative Health Care
• Your vet may recommend vaccines for your pet to help decrease risk of your pet developing zoonotic disease.

• Your vet may recommend fecal testing or other measures to monitor pets for zoonotic disease.

• Ask your vet if you have questions about zoonosis and prevention.

Deworming Your Pets
• It is not uncommon for pets to have parasites, especially young puppies and kittens.

• Follow the advice of your veterinarian as it relates to testing and deworming your pets.

• Deworming medications come in a variety of styles and some are easily given at home as a monthly preventative.

• Internal and external parasites may or may not cause obvious signs of illness in your pet. If you notice diarrhea, decreased appetite or straining to pass stools, take your pet in for a vet exam.

Flea/Tick Control
• Consult with your veterinarian on the best option for your pet. Many monthly flea/tick control products are available over the counter and are highly effective.

• Applying year-round flea/tick topical treatments to your dogs and cats can greatly reduce flea and tick populations which decreases the likelihood of infestations or illness.

• If your pet has fleas you will need to treat your pet, the interior of your home and your yard.