Pet Talk

ZEPHYR

My husband and I have four cats and two dogs. It makes for a pretty fun albeit chaotic home. While we do love our family, there are some concerns where health and sanitation are concerned. Here are some things to consider as we endeavor to make a loving home not only for us but for our beloved furry family.

Flu

Can your dog or cat make you sick of the flu? The answer to this question is NO. The influenza virus, as it turns out, is species specific. Dogs and cats do get the flu but the type of virus strain that affects them does not affect humans and vice versa. The virus that causes the flu and colds among humans is specific to humans.

Diarrhea

Can your dog or cat make you sick of diarrhea? The answer is YES. It is really not them per se. It is the bacteria present in their feces. If your dog or cat is having bouts with wet stool, it would be best to bring your pet to the vet right away. You see, if it is caused by Salmonella or Campylobacter, you can get infected by the bacteria when you come in contact with the feces of your pets. The rule of thumb is always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap right after you handle or groom your pets even when they are in the pink of health.

Other ways

Other sicknesses that we can catch from dogs and cats are the following:

· Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease that can be passed from the dog or cat’s urine which comes in contact with a cut or scratch on human skin or any mucous membranes like the eyes, nose, or mouth.

· There’s also toxoplasmosis. This is a parasitic disease that can be transmitted from cats to humans through their feces. This may cause flu-like symptoms which might become serious if left unchecked. To avoid this, make sure your cat is clean and healthy. When you clean your cat’s litter box, make sure you wear protective gear which include gloves and a face mask. Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the litter box.

· Ringworm is yet another problem that you can get from an infected dog or cat. It is a fungal infection that often forms a ringshaped rash which is zoonotic. Zoonotic is a term which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans. You can get it simply by touching infected animals, their bedding, even their grooming items. To treat it, you would need a physician’s prescription for an effective anti-fungal cream.

· Rabies is a deadly virus spread to people via the saliva of infected animals. It takes one bite to infect your pets and another one for your infected pets to pass them onto you. This is the reason why they have to have annual antirabies shots for your dogs and cats.

Some reminders

There are certain risks involved when you decide to have a pet family but these shouldn’t stop you from opening your home to them. Just remember the following points:

· Just like human saliva, the saliva of dogs and cats are also filled with organisms but the good news is that most of them are not harmful. Be extra careful, however, if you have an open wound or if your immune system is compromised.

· As mentioned earlier, wash your hands thoroughly with a reliable antibacterial soap after spending quality time with your pets.

· Keep your pets clean and healthy. Have them vaccinated and dewormed. Schedule a regular visit to the vet. Get rid of ticks and fleas. A healthy pet means a healthy home.

As we mentioned earlier, there are risks involved when you become a pet owner but it should not be a hindrance to become one. All we have to do is to take certain precautions to ensure our health and the health of our pets as well. Here, the old adage, “Prevention is better than cure,” definitely rings true.