Pet Illnesses and How to Protect Yourself

Can your pets make you sick? Yes! Dr. Puckett from Complete Family Medicine breaks it down for us.

Zoonotic Diseases are diseases that spread from animals to humans. Some can come from wild animals, but many come from pets.

Question: So what Zoonotic Disease can a turtle give their handler?

Answer: Salmonella: A bacterial disease common from handling uncooked chicken, but also from living reptiles. It is transmitted in their feces. In pets it is common and doesnâ??t cause any problems. In humans it causes diarrhea, fever and stomach pain.

But if it invades other organs does require antibiotics.

Question: What can one do to protect themselves?

Answer: Wash your hands and clothes after handling reptiles or cleaning the cage. Use bleach to clean up any contaminated surface.

Question: What is another common Zoonotic Disease?

Answer: Toxoplasmosis. One of the most common parasitic cat diseases, Toxoplasmosis Gondi

Cats who eat infected birds or rodents get the bug, then pass the egg in their

feces. Humans get exposure when cleaning the litter box or doing gardening where cats

roam and do their business. Most healthy humans can fight off the disease without major problems. Young Children and elderly, or anyone with a weakened immune system can get

permanent organ damage. Pregnant women can also pass the disease to babies, some getting brain or eye damage, thus the recommendation to avoid cat litter when pregnant.

Question: What can we do to prevent Toxoplasmosis?

Answer: Wear gloves when cleaning the litter box. Keep indoor cats indoors to limit exposure. Never feed raw meat to a cat. Keep kid sand boxes covered

Question: What about Ringworm? Is that a Zoonotic Disease?

Answer: Yes, it is! It is a fungal infection (not a worm). Infection occurs when petting an animal, usually a cat. In humans causes ring like patch on scalp or skin, often with raised sharply defined red edges. It can make hair fall out. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams or pills. Treatment can take weeks, requires patience.

Dr. Justin Puckett, D.O.

Complete Family Medicine

1611 S. Baltimore

Kirksville, MO. 63501