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Posted on 04-06-2012

We all want to keep our pets protected from infections and diseases! In doing so, we are actually protecting ourselves from those same illnesses as well.puppies_1.jpg

Zoonoses are cross-species diseases or infections that can be passed from animals to humans. Zoonoses typically are most dangerous to people with compromised immune systems, the very young and the very old.

The most dangerous and best known zoonosis is the viral disease, Rabies. Rabies enters wounds via infected saliva. Though it is a highly dangerous and fatal neurological disease, Rabies cases in the United States have dramatically decreased due to the widespread use of Rabies vaccines. It is also commonly known that pregnant women should not clean their cat's litter boxes due to the risk of being infected with Toxoplasmosis. This can be dangerous to a fetus when the mother breathes in the Toxoplasma organism which can be found in cat feces, as well as other sources in the environment such as gardening soil.

There are many different types of zoonotic diseases. There are bacterial diseases such as Leptospirosis and Salmonellosis, fungal diseases like Ringworm, and parasites such as Scabies, Giardia, Roundworms and Tapeworms, just to name a few.

For prevention, or if your pet does become infected with a zoonosis, maintaining a clean environment is key. Also, practicing excellent basic hygiene such as washing your hands often, keeping your litter boxes clean, picking up immediately after your dog, and disposing of any infected materials, will reduce your chances of obtaining these zoonotic diseases. Depending on the zoonosis, more extreme measures may have to be taken such as isolation or quarantine.

The best way to keep everyone safe from zoonoses is by keeping your domestic pets up to date on all recommended vaccinations, dewormings as well as having fecal samples tested annually, and by giving monthly preventatives (for heartworm, parasites, fleas and ticks) all year long.

If you suspect your pet may have a zoonosis, have any questions or concerns about zoonotic diseases, to learn more about them, or to schedule an appointment, please contact the friendly staff at Eagle Animal Hospital (610) 458-8789 or at www.eagleanimalvet.com  We serve Chester Springs, Exton, Glenmoore, Downingtown, and the surrounding areas.

Written by Kaelin Mast, receptionist

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