Zoonosis

Can pets spread infections?

Zoonotic diseases are when an animal can transmit a disease to humans (Zoonosis). Most diseases that pets get can get are not transmissible to human; however there are some serious diseases that they can. In this article we will only discuss a few of these.


Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin. Dog and cats that have ringworm will have a circular patch of hairless red skin. If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, take them to a Veterinarian. Also, keep your pet away from your face, because this fungus can infect your body anywhere that your skin contacts it.

Rabies is a viral infection of mammals. Although rabies is becoming more rare due to vaccination and other control methods, this is still a very serious disease. It is important that your pet be vaccinated for rabies, most governments require it. Rabies can be spread to humans when an infected animal bites a human, transferring saliva. See: Cat Rabies Symptoms.

Psittacosis, or Parrot Fever, is caused by a bacteria that normally live in the respiratory tract of some infected birds. Humans can become infected by inhaling the bacteria through dust or dander. Signs of illness in humans include fever, malaise, and a feeling like you have the flu. See: Exotic Pet

Toxoplasmosis is a disease that some cats carry. It is especially important for pregnant women not to clean cat litter boxes, because toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects. While cat feces is one way to get toxoplasmosis, the greater risk of this disease is eating undercooked meat, or gardening.

We have just discussed just some of the Zoonosis that are transmitted between pets and humans. For more information please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association at www.avma.org.