Our fur babies give us kisses. They give us joy. They also give us germs and parasites. These diseases, passed from pets to people are called zoonoses or zoonotic illnesses (http://www.2ndchance.info/zoonoses.htm). Here are the top 4 zoonoses and how you can prevent having them.
Spot becomes infected with hookworm when he eats poop that contains hookworm larvae or runs through dirt that contains the larvae and then licks his paws and ingests the eggs. Puppies and kittens become infected if they are nursing from a mom who is infected. Humans pick up the larvae on our skin, the larvae gets mixed in with something we eat and…YUCK! The eggs hatch in our intestines and go on a road trip throughout our body. In people, the common route of hookworm infection is through skin (http://healthypets.mercola.com). Hookworm larvae have the ability to penetrate human skin. How do you know if you have hookworm? A rash will develop at the site where the larvae entered your skin. How do you know if your fur baby has hookworm? A puppy or kitten will become lethargic, malnourished and anemic and can die from an infestation. Adult pets will have loss of appetite and weight loss.
This parasite reproduces only in cats (http://www.mayoclinic.org). Humans become infected when we come into contact with cat poo that contains the parasite (touch your mouth after gardening or cleaning a litter box that contains toxoplasma). What are they symptoms? Body aches, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever and fatigue. The signs and symptoms of severe toxoplasmosis — blurred vision, confusion, loss of coordination — require immediate medical care. Babies, pregnant women and people with weakened immune symptoms have an increased risk of being infected.
Princess becomes infected when she eats poo infected with the parasite. Humans become infected when we eat soil containing roundworm larvae. For example, you do not thoroughly wash the soil off the vegetables from your garden. “Because humans are not the perfect host for roundworms, they tend to travel through the body and create problems like organ inflammation. In fact, they are known to migrate through the eyes of small children. It is not uncommon for an eye doctor to discover roundworm larva at the back of a child’s eye” (http://healthypets.mercola.com).
Spot and Princess become infected with crypto by drinking contaminated water or eating the feces of a contaminated animal. An animal infected with this parasite takes a “poo” in a pond or lake. Humans become infected when we swallow the infected water. Crypto symptoms in humans are: diarrhea, dehydration, lack of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting (https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/).
How do we prevent becoming infected with these parasites?
- WASH, WASH, WASH your hands after picking up dog poop, cleaning a litter box, or working in soil
- Wash vegetables thoroughly before you, or your fur baby, eat them
- Keep your sandbox covered when your child is not playing in it
- When gardening, wear shoes and gloves
- Always pick up your dog’s poo, whether it is in your yard or your neighbor’s
- Do not allow your pup to eat poop