Animal diseases and their health


There are numerous diseases that can be transmitted by zoonosis among the various groups of domestic animals.

In many homes, pets have become a member of the family. They provide numerous benefits, among which are the promotion of sociability, affectivity or the sense of responsibility. Despite all these benefits, animals are carriers of numerous diseases which, if not maintaining correct hygienic conditions, can be transmitted to humans. This transmission is called zoonosis.

There are numerous diseases that can be transmitted by zoonosis among the various groups of domestic animals, such as dogs, cats, rodents, fish, amphibians and reptiles, and humans.

1. Borreliosis or Lyme disease: It's a disease that it is transmitted by ticks, one of the main vectors of infection in animals, but also It is believed that it can be transmitted through urine. The main symptoms are acute fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pain.

2. Campylobacteriosis: This disease is produced by the campylobacter bacteria. It affects numerous animal species, such as dogs, cats, rodents, ferrets, rabbits, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Contact with human occurs through the feces of infected animals. In man, infection with this bacterium causes acute enteritis, fever and abdominal pain.

3. Anger: Is caused by a rhabdovirus and can be transmitted by dogs, cats and rodents. In this case, animals can be vaccinated and avoid suffering from this disease. Dr. Téllez affirms that in the case of rabies vaccination, "each autonomous community has its own regulations", therefore, in her opinion, it would be highly recommended to unify these regulations to ensure that vaccination criteria throughout Spain be the same and thus prevent the disease from spreading.

4. Sarcoptic mange: He mite Sarcoptes scabiei is the cause of this disease, which It can be transmitted by dogs, cats and rodents.If man is in close contact with infected animals he has a high risk of contracting the disease. The symptoms are very thin furrows in the skin that cause intense itching.

5. Hydatidiosis: This disease is transmitted by dogs through a parasite called had echinococcus. The "eggs" of this parasite are expelled in animal feces and can remain attached to areas of your body near the anus. When dogs are licked, these "eggs" can remain around their snouts causing them to pass to the hands or body parts of the people who caress them. In humans produces cysts in the liver.

6. Toxoplasmosis: Cats are the carriers of this disease. The largest risk group is pregnant women and can be spread by handling cat feces. In addition it can also be transmitted by eating raw or undercooked meat such as pork or lamb. It causes swollen glands, headaches or fever.

7. Mycobacteriosis: This disease is transmitted by fish, amphibians and reptiles. It is produced by direct contact with animals or during the cleaning of their terrariums or fish tanks. The symptom of mycobacteriosis are skin lesions, whose diagnosis is late because it is a rare disease.

8. Psittacosis: A bacterium from the chlamydia family cause this disease whose carrier are birds such as parrots, pigeons or parakeets. His contagion is produced by the inhalation of dry fecal material dust which is in the cages. Some of the symptoms are fever, headache and, in some cases, pneumonia.

Tell me what animal you have and I'll tell you what they can give you

Cats The infection most common of these felines is scratch disease of cat, which is produced by a Bartonella bacteria. Often people become infected after they are scratched or bitten by a cat and the area where it happened is inflamed. It produces fatigue and is not transmitted between humans.

The cats they are also carriers of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, responsible for toxoplasmosis. The dogs, sheep and cattle they can also have this parasite that It is commonly found in animal feces. It is very difficult to know if the cat is infected because it does not usually show symptoms. If the parasite is in the environment or in the food chain, there is a risk of being ingested by humans.

The greatest danger is in pregnant women, who can pass the infection to the fetus, which can develop damage to the brain and blindness. It is possible that people with toxoplasmosis don't notice the symptoms or who have some very similar to the flu or infectious mononucleosis (also known as hard fever).

Dogs The ticks can causeLyme disease both in dogs and in humans, but a tick is more likely to pass from person to dog than from this animal to a human.

The most common symptom is a red rash around the bite of the insect. This is followed by flu-like symptoms, but if not treated in time, Lyme disease can cause inflammation in the joints and cause neurological problems. Ticks that cause this condition usually inhabit wooded and temperate areas where dogs can walk with their owners.

The Rage It is a serious disease that it can be transmitted through the bite saliva of an infected animal, in this case the dog. Cause high fever and aggressive behavior, but it can also spread to the brain and nervous system, which would be fatal.

Although this disease is present in 150 countries, it is in South and Southeast Asia where more than 95% of human deaths from rabies occur, 55,000 a year.

Reptiles Reptiles can be source of a rare form of salmonella, belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria. It causes headache, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea, as well as rash on the chest and back.

This is because reptiles, especially snakes, carry the infection in the skin and feces. Babies and children are more vulnerable to developing a serious form of the disease. To prevent reptiles from passing infection to humans, the UK Department of Public Health recommends Do not kiss these types of pets and wash your hands very well After handling them.

Rodents The most common rodents used as pets are hamsters, mice, rats, diphids, guinea pigs or guinea pigs, cuniculus or bales and chinchillas. All rodents, whether pet or wild, can be bacteria and virus carriers that cause infections in humans.

One of them can be the hantavirus, a potentially fatal disease, which causes from a moderate flu to severe respiratory conditions or kidney disease. Other infections that rodents can pass to humans are the leptospirosis, rat bite fever and a type of meningitis caused by a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis. While these are rare diseases, these infections can cause serious consequences.

Parrots The psittacosis is a bacterial infection It affects birds, particularly parrots. It can also affect other species such as the Australian parakeet, nymph cockatoo, macaws, as well as ducks, seagulls, sparrows and chickens. It is a disease that it is transmitted by air and that can happen to people who have or work with these animals. It causes fever, diarrhea, eye infection and red spots on the body.

How to prevent these diseases?

For Enrique Baquero, Doctor in Biology from the University of Navarra, "the key is hygiene"With a series of basic hygienic measures, the spread of these diseases could be avoided. Keep the animal's objects clean, try to wash ourselves if we touch the pet or collect the feces and deposit them in a special container, they are gestures that can help us Avoid contagion.

In addition, Sonia Téllez, Doctor in Veterinary Medicine and coordinator of the Veterinary Service of Madrid, has highlighted, in turn, the importance of awareness and education of the owners of these animals in things as basic as deworming animals or keeping veterinary and vaccination control, measures that cost very little and will not only have a benefit in our animals but also in our own health.

As Dr. Baquero has indicated "cases of infection are almost anecdotal"The number of people suffering from any of these diseases is very low. In addition, Téllez has pointed out that"the transmission of these diseases can occur in both directions, that is, humans can also infect their animals and that they transmit the disease to others. "In Tellez's opinion in many cases animals are "demonized" when contagion is caused by human misbehavior.


The diseases that people can get from animals are called zoonoses. Many of the diseases that affect humans can be traced to animals or animal products. You can get it directly from an animal or indirectly through the environment.

Farm animals can transmit diseases. If a person touches them or touches objects that they have touched, such as fences or buckets, they should wash their hands very well. Adults should ensure that children who visit farms or petting zoos also wash their hands well.

Although they can be adorable and affectionate, wild animals can be infected with germs, viruses and parasites. Deer and deer mouse are carriers (person or animal that carries and brings, in this case, germs) of ticks that cause Lyme disease. Some wild animals are carriers of rabies. Enjoy wild animals from afar.

Pets can also transmit diseases. Reptiles pose a particular risk. Turtles, snakes and iguanas can transmit Salmonella to their owners. You can get rabies from an infected dog or toxoplasmosis by handling the sanitary sand of an infected cat. The chances of your dog or cat getting a disease are few. You can reduce the risk of infection with good hygiene, keeping the areas that pets frequent and vaccinating your pet clean when necessary.

Pets can spread casually or for lack of veterinary control ringworm, lehismania or viral meningitis

@abcdesevilla SEVILLA Updated: 03/07/2016 11: 43h

Many parents give their children pets without informing them that bad habits or lack of care can transmit diseases. Zoonosis It is the term with which diseases that can be transmitted from animals to man are designated. «Pet-transmitted infections can be caused by many different microorganisms and in many cases the pet has no symptoms of disease. However, if animals have good sanitary control and elementary precautions are taken, the risk of disease transmission is low, ”according to Miguel Ángel Muniain Ezcurra, Professor of Medicine of Seville, Infectious diseases and immune system specialist at the Virgen Macarena Hospital.

Zoonoses can be transmitted well by contact with animal secretions - such as saliva, urine or bowel movements. -, small wounds on the skin, by inhalation or through the bite of pulgas, mosquitoes or ticks etc. "Every disease," says the doctor, "has a preference to be transmitted to man in a certain way."


Lehismania, so frequent in dogs, is not transmitted to man by contact, but requires for its transmission the bite of a mosquito, a species of mosquito that has previously bitten a sick animal. These diseases can also be transmitted from one animal to another, but in general, each microorganism has a favorite animal and a specific transmission mechanism. It can cause skin diseases in humans or affect the liver and spleen if the patient is immunocompromised.

"Cat-scratch disease"

Some animals, for example cats, produce a specific infection that is called "cat scratch disease" by scratching (and sometimes by contact with cracked skin). «It is - according to dermatologist and venereologist Ismael Yebra Sotillo - of an infection with a bacteria of the genus Bartonella and that is transmitted by scratches or bites from infected cats. It presents with skin inflammation in the area of ​​the scratch, fever, malaise and lymph node involvement. It is more frequent in children and usually yields without treatment in three or four weeks although symptomatic treatment is usually used ».

«Buttony Fever»

On the other hand, Yebra Sotillos points out that dog and cat fleas can transmit when itching a Rickettsias disease and the bite of dog ticks causes the "Buttony Fever" or Lyme disease. These diseases generally present with fever, sometimes skin rashes and heal without complications in most cases.

Dog cysts

"Hydatidosis", what were previously called "dog cysts" and especially in rural areas, was very frequent and are less, according to Muniain.

In addition, pets can transmit the so-called ringworms, which are skin infections caused by fungi called dermatophytes, since they feed on the keratin of the skin, hair and nails. «They are transmitted to humans through the ground of stables, stables, farms ... or directly from fur animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits or horses. They can develop on the entire cutaneous surface, except in the mucous membranes (mouth, genital, ocular conjunctiva) and according to their location they are named athlete's foot, onychomycosis, ringworm of the face, head, hand, etcaether They are itchy and characterized by an inflammatory progression flange. They can be transmitted from person to person, ”explains Sevillian dermatologist Yebra Sotillos.

Amphibians and reptiles just like newborn chickens, can transmit Salmonella. "They are not a good gift for children under 5, pregnant or immunocompromised patients," warns this Professor of Medicine.


Cats, especially younger ones, can transmit toxoplasmosis through feces and therefore pregnant women they should not clean the hygienic trays of the cats and if they do, they should wear gloves.

Dogs and expenses may also be hosts of mites similar to human scabies, reports Ismael Yebra Sotillos. «However, it is transmitted between humans and the dog's scabies, for example, only produces temporary irritations in the skin accompanied by itching, but that end up giving up alone, without the need for treatment, due to lack of adaptation to the habitat provided by human skin» .

What measures are necessary to prevent transmission? Miguel Ángel Muniain explains that pets, especially if they go out and come into contact with other animals, need good veterinary control. This is an essential aspect especially if the pet is in contact with children under 5, pregnant women or people with a significant degree of immunosuppression. If they go out to the countryside or the parks, the presence of ticks must be monitored. As a general rule, especially children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed patients, they should wash their hands after being in contact with pets. It can also be said that younger animals have a higher risk of transmitting diseases.

«Three out of five new diseases discovered each year are zoonoses. Their study and knowledge continues to be of great relevance and all countries have very active surveillance systems to determine and control these diseases. Just put as an example of zoonosis the current epidemic of Zica virus or the devastating infection of Ebola virus», According to Muniain.

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