Animal Zoonotic Diseases

Animal Zoonotic Diseases

  Zoonotic diseases are diseases animals can transmit to humans under natural conditions. An animal need not appear ill in order to be contagious. Similarly, people may show no symptoms or be quite ill. Some zoonotic diseases, like rabies, can even result in death. Zoonotic diseases can be acquired by direct contact with an infected animal or by indirect contact with infected materials such as urine, feces, hair, or saliva. Many internal and external parasites are considered zoonotic.

Animal Campylobacter

Transmitted by ingestion of infected animal feces. Human symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, fever, chills, and bloody diarrhea. Always wash hands after working with animals.

Animal Giardia

Transmitted by ingestion of the parasite, via infected animal feces or contaminated soil or water. Symptoms include diarrhea, loose or watery stool, stomach cramps, and upset stomach and can lead to weight loss and dehydration. Some people have no symptoms. Always wash hands after working with animals and using the toilet yourself; avoid drinking untreated water; wash fruits and vegetables well before eating.

Animal Leptospirosis

Transmitted through contact with urine or carcasses of infected animals. Symptoms in people include fever, chills, weakness and in some cases anemia and jaundice. Consistently using gloves when handling urine and urine soaked materials followed by a thorough washing of hands will prevent the spread of this disease.

Animal Rabies

Rabies is a fatal neurological disease transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include dramatic behavior change (becoming vicious or unusually affectionate), hiding or roaming long distances, attacking inanimate objects, vocal changes, drooping jaw, profuse drooling, staggering, paralysis, convulsions, and death within days. Consult your peting agency and veterinarian.

Animal Toxoplasmosis

Typically, humans are infected by eating contaminated meat, but humans can also be infected by ingesting or inhaling infected oocysts in cat feces. Healthy individuals who are infected exhibit no symptoms, but individuals who are pregnant or have a compromised immune systems may exhibit severe symptoms including neurological and vision problems Wearing gloves and cleaning litter boxes daily will prevent this.

Animal Ringworm

Ringworm is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is contagious to humans and animals. It is a fungal disease producing dry, scaly, hairless patches (called lesions), usually around earflaps, face, tail, and toenails.

Ringworm is transmitted through direct contact with the fungal spores. Ringworm often appears as irregularly shaped spots of fur loss. The skin of the furless area will look rough and scaly. The spot will get larger and additional spots will appear on the face, ears, and paws first. Sometimes the spots will be more regular rings with furless scaly circles and a visible red ring at the outside edge.

On people and dogs, ringworm is most often shaped in a regular ring. The dog’s fur will fall out, leaving a round bare spot with a visible ring. Ringworm causes little distress and is not an emergency, but it is highly contagious, itchy, and takes patience and diligence when applying medicine because it is a stubborn spore.

Most healthy adult cats have some resistance to ringworm and never develop symptoms from the fungus.

Young cats (under one year) and cats with a suppressed immune system are most susceptible to infection.

Exposure to a Wood’s lamp, which makes the fungus glow, sometimes can detect ringworm. The best method is to call the veterinarian, collect a scraping, and perform a culture. This takes about one week. Ringworm requires extensive treatment and can take up to 4 months to resolve in healthy animals. Treatment includes clipping the hair around the lesion, being careful not to irritate the skin as that may spread the fungus then applying a topical anti-fungal medicine prescribed by a veterinarian. Ringworm spores are able to survive for long periods in an environment. This makes cleaning and sterilization a critical part of the treatment regime.

Animal Disinfect with a bleach and water mixture.

If you suspect your pet animal has ringworm: Isolate the animal immediately. Limit handling the animal. Take the animal to the veterinarian for a check. Disinfect all toys, towels, blankets, etc with very hot water and bleach Disinfect all food and water bowls, carriers, and anything else the animal has come into contact with.

Vacuum all upholstery and rugs thoroughly. Wash yourself thoroughly and change clothes after handling the infected animal.

If you have petted a litter with ringworm, it is best to wait 4 weeks before petting a new litter.


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