You may probably know even more than you wanted about some diseases that can be contracted from animals without us even knowing, although since the reign of the antibiotics era, there are fewer deaths now that a few hundred years before. The infamous lethal bird flu and swine flu made a lot of victims throughout the world back in the day, while the Bubonic Plague is still remembered as the epitome of all plagues, kneeling the civilization back in the 14th century on a world wide level. The rats were involved then and even today, forms of plague, if left untreated, are as deadly now as they were before. Without intending to ignite feelings of fear and paranoia, we have to quote some statistics which say that
there are at least 39 important diseases people catch directly from animals. There are at least 48 important diseases people get from the bite of bugs that bit an infected animal. And there are at least 42 important diseases that people get by ingesting or handling food or water contaminated with animal feces.
But people live with animals on a daily basis, be them cats and dogs, farm stock, exotic pets, fluffy, innocent rabbits and Guinea pigs and so on, and you don’t see hospitals piling up ill bodies, just because people choose to have animal companions. There is no mystery there, however, as some take more precaution measures than others. However, in order to educate and warn, today we will take a look over 10 diseases you can catch from animals, in order for you to be more careful in taking care of them and of yourself.
1. Cat – Scratch Fever
Statistics show that at least once in a lifetime, cats contract this disease but without showing any symptoms of it. However, humans can contract an infection caused by Bartonella henselae through the bite or scratch of their outdoor – roaming cat. It manifests within 7 to 20 days post – scratch and is usually signaled by fever, headaches, local inflammation and the enlargement of the closest lymph nodes to the bitten area.
The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is very dangerous and easy to contract, as it is often found in cats’ feces. Even if statistics show a lot of people catch this disease, few of them show symptoms. However, if the disease establishes itself in the system and left untreated, it can be fatal.
This infection can be contracted from pets’ feces, but also water, food and soil contaminated by animals. The disease manifests through symptoms including fever, headaches, chills, vomiting and nausea and if left untreated it can lead to more serious affections such as liver or kidney failure.
4. Rabbit fever / Tularemia
Rabbits are common pets, but this doesn’t mean they can’t carry transmittable disease. There are two forms of this disease, one that can be caught via scratching and another which is airborne. The ticks are the ones responsible for spreading the disease from the animal to the owner, so keeping the animal clean and healthy is mandatory for the fluffy bunny to not become you family’s enemy.
5. Parrot fever
This is a disease that can be caught from ill birds and is caused by a bacteria living inside their respiratory system. The symptoms relevant to humans are flu – like and if left untreated can lead to severe problems. It responds well to antibiotics, if diagnosed correctly. Keeping the birds healthy usually prevents the illness from becoming threatening to humans.
This is a common infection that many people get, usually from getting into contact with animal feces, but it is less known that you can catch the infection also from exotic pets, like amphibians or reptiles. Prevention methods in order to keep them from spreading the disease is to keep them clean and healthy, not let them roaming around the house especially in places highly accessed by children and toilet the exotic pets in specially dedicated containers, not your family’s bathtub or sink. Wash your hands carefully after petting them or manipulating them and take them to the vet for preventative measures.
7. Q Fever
This infection is commonly spread among live stock, so the most exposed people are farmers, veterinarians and meat plant workers. Although statistics show that only 50% of people exposed to the disease actually manifest it, the symptoms are severe and can lead to very dangerous systemic failures. Treatment usually involves antibiotics, but prevention is the key, as the bacteria are very resistant.
While not a lot of people keep monkeys as pets, the ones who do are exposed to the monkeypox, similar to smallpox but less dangerous. However, since this is just as exotic as the small African mammals people believe are cool to keep around the house, prevention and early diagnosis can save you from a lot of troubles.
Now this is a killer, for both infected animals and humans and even if the research has evolved tremendously in terms of prevention and intervention, the world is still threatened by anthrax, a bacteria resistant enough and strong enough to damage a healthy system and to survive dormant for long periods of time in the right conditions. If caught on time, it can be cured.
It originates among gorillas and chimps in Central Africa, but it is transmissible also from human to human through infected blood and body fluids. There have been a few deadly outbreaks and there are few people who don’t know that it manifests in horrific and torturing ways. Recent research consider bats as being the carriers, as they can be infected without manifesting the symptoms. Ebola is one of the most deadly diseases in history together with the plague, pandemic influenza and HIV.
These are only 10 diseases that you can catch from animals. Prevention and early diagnosis in both your pets and yourself are the keys of spending a healthy, jolly life together with the companions of your choice.