Family and Friends Health Care

Can Pets Get Us Sick?

A Little Girl Kisses a Puppy on the Top of His Head

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Having pets has many known health benefits, from reducing your stress to lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol. But can all those puppy smooches or kitty scratches also cause health issues? Let’s learn about infections your pets can carry so you know how best to protect your family while still building a lasting bond with your pets.

What Diseases Can I Get from My Pet?

The good news is that the most common diseases that impact household pets don’t transmit to humans. However, getting a disease from close contact with your pet’s dander, saliva, urine or feces is still possible.

Some diseases that are transmittable from pets to people include:

  • Campylobacteriosis: A bacterial infection that can cause GI symptoms
  • Cat-scratch disease: A mild, bacterial infection that can lead to headache, fever and fatigue
  • Rabies: A deadly, viral infection that affects the brain
  • Ringworm: A fungus that can cause a scaly, dry, circular rash on the skin
  • Salmonella: A bacteria that can cause GI symptoms
  • Tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease: A bacterial infection that causes a rash, flu-like symptoms and joint pain
  • Toxoplasmosis: A parasitic infection that causes mild illness in most people but can be dangerous for pregnant women

How to Prevent Catching Diseases from Pets

While you’re not likely to catch a major disease from your pets, there are steps you can take to protect your family from any infections that pets can spread, including:

  • Keeping pets up to date on vaccines, especially for rabies
  • Picking up after your pet and cleaning up accidents quickly
  • Preventing your animal from licking you around your face and mouth
  • Teaching children how to interact with animals to prevent bites and scratches
  • Using tick prevention to avoid tick-borne illnesses
  • Visiting the vet regularly to identify any infections that might impact the humans in your household
  • Washing your hands regularly, especially after cleaning up your pet’s waste

Care for the Whole Family

If you learn your pet is ill with something transmittable to humans, our urgent care experts at AdventHealth Centra Care can help you. With many locations open on evenings and weekends and same-day appointments and walk-ins available, you can trust we’ll help you get back to feeling whole.

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