Identifying Potential Risks: Common Diseases Transferable from Animals to Humans

Zoonotic diseases, which are illnesses that can be transmitted from animals to humans, are more common than you might imagine. Keep up with your pet’s preventive care to avoid getting sick even though they seem to be in excellent health, because they may be hiding a transmissible sickness.

How may my pet infect me with illnesses?

Pets can pass germs to people in a variety of ways, including through:

  • 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 or 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 that has been contaminated with feces or urine can result in diseases such as giardia or leptospirosis being passed to you.

What illnesses may I catch from my pet?

Numerous illnesses can be transferred from pets to people 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)

In order to prevent the spread of disease, always use good hygiene when handling your pet, their waste, and their belongings.

Pets can spread a wide range of illnesses and parasites to their human and animal family members. Regular preventative care is the best approach to safeguard every member of your family, including the two- and four-legged variety. To keep everyone safe and healthy, give our staff a call to make an appointment for your pet’s preventative care visit.