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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 family and your pets. Thorough hand washing with soap and water after handling your pet or cleaning your pet’s habitat 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.

• Some zoonotic bacteria, viruses and parasites can be normal inhabitants of your pet’s digestive system and can be shed in fecal material. Human contact with fecal material can occur when handling your pet or their bedding, habitat, food dishes, water bottles or aquarium water.

• 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 other 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.

• Persons with a healthy immune system are at lower risk for developing zoonotic diseases.

• Questions regarding your health should be directed to your doctor.

• Questions regarding your pet’s health should be directed to your veterinarian.

Preventing Zoonosis
• Pets should not be housed in kitchens.

• Pets should not be allowed onto food preparation areas.

• Pets should not be bathed in kitchen sinks.

• Outdoor hoses should be used to clean pet habitats, aquariums, food and water dishes.

• 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.

 

Step 2Zoonotic Disease Types

DISEASE

Select Zoonotic Diseases

TYPE PETS AFFECTED DIAGNOSIS

CHLAMYDOPHILA PSITTACI

'Psittacosis"

BACTERIAL BIRDS CULTURE, FECAL TESTING

INTESTINAL BACTERIA

(SALMONELLA, E COLI, CAMPYLOBACTER)

BACTERIAL AMPHIBIANS, BIRDS, FISH, MAMMALS, REPTILES FECAL TESTING

MYCOBACTERIUM

"Fish Handler's Disease"

BACTERIAL FISH CULTURE
RINGWORM FUNGAL CATS, DOGS, GUINEA PIGS FUNGAL CULTURE
PROTOZOA: (GIARDIA AND CRYPTOSPORIDIUM) WORMS: (TAPEWORMS, ROUNDWORMS, HOOKWORMS) INTESTINAL PARASITES MAMMALS AND REPTILES FECAL TESTING
EXTERNAL PARASITES FLEAS, MITES AND LICE      

 

Step 3Safety Recommendations

Pets and Children
• The relationship between pets and children is special and can create life long memories.

• 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.

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

Partner With Your Vet

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 so if you notice diarrhea, decreased appetite or straining to pass stools, you should take your pet in for a veterinary 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. 

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