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What Dog Diseases can be Transmitted to Humans?

Don’t let your dog’s disease drag you down

A dog is man’s best friend, offering comfort, support, and even a floppy ear when no one else will listen. There are definite health benefits associated with owning a dog, from helping to lower blood pressure to staving off depression. But despite the abundant health benefits of having a dog, what happens if they’re sick? In some cases, a sick dog can be just as infectious as a sick human!

With all the rough and tumble play your dog experiences outdoors, there’s no surprise they carry germs back into the house. There are indeed, some dog germs can infect humans – which are known as zoonotic diseases. A zoonotic disease is a disease that is spread from animals to humans. These illnesses can be passed through waste, saliva, or even buried in the fur or dander of your four-legged friend. Direct contact with an infected pet can spread the infection, resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes, in rare cases, life-threatening symptoms. Here are a few diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Dogs carrying ticks in their coats can bring these nasty creatures into the house. Baby ticks are the size of poppy seeds and can be hard to spot even in short-haired pets. Carrying bacteria and other infectious agents, a bite from an infected tick can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans with weakened immune systems. The symptoms are quite similar to the flu, with patients citing fevers, chills, aches, and even a rash on the body.

Roundworm

Shed into feces which contaminate the soil, roundworm is very common parasite among dogs and humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 14 percent of the U.S. population has been infected with Toxocara, which stems from roundworm larvae. People ages 20 and below are at higher risk of infection from roundworm if they own a dog. Roundworm symptoms can vary from minor coughing to fever and inflammation of the liver or even blindness.

Dog Hookworms

Similar to roundworms, dog hookworms are spread by contact with soil contaminated with infected feces. It may be especially challenging to identify contaminated ground where feces might be obscured. Infected persons may notice abdominal cramping, nausea, blood in stools, and an irritating rash.

Rabies

Rabies is the most well-known potential transmission between dogs and humans. In the United States, this viral disease is typically spread by wild animals or unvaccinated domestic pets. Here in Arizona, rabies vaccinations and licensing are required for all dogs.

Prevention

While some zoonotic diseases and their consequences can be serious, this doesn’t mean you should worry constantly. There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent these diseases:

Proper preventative care: Schedule regular preventative care appointments with your veterinarian, and keep your pet up-to-date on their annual fecal tests and vaccinations to best protect both you and your pup from these diseases – plus to put your mind at ease. Your veterinarian can also talk about different parasite preventatives to help protect against fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites.

Wash your hands: It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after interacting with your dog. You never know what they might be nibbling on when you’re not looking. This is especially important for young children in the household.

Scoop the poop: Making sure your yard is as clean as possible can reduce the risk of infections and limit the spread of parasites and bacteria.

Knowledge and prevention can go a long way towards keeping everyone in your family (including your pup) happy and healthy!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

 

 

Cats May Be at Risk for Heartworm Disease

There’s a common misconception that cats are not affected by heartworm disease; we’re here to tell you that is false! So, if felines can get heartworm disease, is it the same as canine heartworms? Is it preventable? Let us help fill you in on the important facts surrounding how heartworm disease can affect our feline family members.

Feline and canine heartworm disease are the same in that they both are caused by a bite from an infected mosquito and can be potentially fatal. The difference is in the nature of the disease, and how it’s detected and diagnosed.

Heartworm Disease in Felines

Unlike dogs, cats are not a natural host for heartworms – which means the larvae will likely have a shorter lifespan. Fortunately, this makes it more difficult for heartworms to affect the larger organs, but can create significant heart, pulmonary artery, and respiratory problems. While it is less likely cats will get heartworm, this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Studies indicate that a solid approximation would be 10%; so, for every 100 dogs that are heartworm positive, there will be 10 positive cases of feline heartworm.

In the cases feline heartworm, many cats will not show symptoms ultimately making it a difficult disease to detect. Often times, the symptoms – including coughing, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even weight loss – mimic those of other common diseases. If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, please contact us immediately.

Here is an incredibly important fact: There are both oral and topical prescriptions that can help PREVENT heartworm disease from occurring; however, there are currently no approved drugs for TREATING heartworm in cats. So, if your cat becomes infected, any treatments to kill adult heartworms can cause incredible health complications for your pet. As the adult worms die and pass through the arteries to the lungs of your cat when attempting heartworm treatment, it can cause failure in the lungs and sudden death of your beloved feline companion.

Talk with us at your next appointment to review the risks for your cat, and to discuss prevention opportunities that may work best for your individual pet. As your trusted partners in pet healthcare, we want to help you ensure that your pet leads the healthiest and happiest life possible!

New Year Pet Health Check-Up

It’s a fresh new year, so it’s the perfect time to do a little new year pet health check-up on all things related to your pets. The theme is clean, clear and up-to-date, so let’s dig into our new year’s pet health check-up list!

1/ Schedule an annual check-up. Annual wellness exams can help prevent chronic health problems like diabetes as well as common communicable diseases. Your pet will be carefully examined from top to tail, including teeth. Pets will receive any needed vaccinations and boosters, plus flea and/or heart worm medications. If it’s been a while since your pet has seen the vet, don’t wait. Make an appointment today!

2/ Clean, Repair or Replace Worn Toys. Take a few minutes to sort through your pet’s toys. While every pet has their favorites, some toys can become choking hazards. Repair or replace anything with torn seams, visible stuffing or that’s just become gross. Some plush toys are washable. Make a habit to regularly wash them along with your pet’s bedding. Dogs also seem to collect old bones and chews. Quietly dispose of any with ragged edges or visible cracks.

3/ Wash & Repair Pet Bedding & Food Bowls. Regular washing of your pet’s bowls, bedding, pillows, blankets and plush toys is a must. Washing bedding and toys can help cut down on irritants and allergens like pet dander, dust and dirt. Use an unscented, pet safe detergent and avoid fabric softeners or other additives. Air dry or use the dryer, but avoid dryer sheets.

4/ Examine, Repair or Replace Collars, Harnesses & Leashes. Take a look at your pet’s collar, harnesses and leashes to make certain they’re in good working order, with no visible signs of wear and tear. Repair or replace if necessary. Now, get outside together and take a good long walk to enjoy the mild weather!

5/ Set Up a Regular Grooming Schedule! Your pet’s fur, teeth and nails can always use a bit of extra attention. Make sure to regularly groom your pets. Whether you bathe and groom them at home or use one of our experienced pet stylists, your pet will look, feel and smell wonderful. Don’t forget to regularly brush their teeth! Your veterinarian or groomer can show you the best techniques and recommend pet-safe products.

6/ Update Pet Tags, Licenses & Registrations. Check your pet’s tags, licenses and microchip registration information to be sure all contact details are correct. If your pet isn’t microchipped, get it done ASAP. Replace any worn or rusted ID tags.

Ready to schedule your pet’s new year pet health check-up? Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you. Happy New Year from the AZPetVet family!