Zoonosis and pets

Source: rivm.nl/ziekdoordier
The house pet population is on the rise. In the Netherlands, for example, there is at least one house pet in 55 percent of households. These animals can be sick without causing any problems for their owners, but there are also illnesses we can catch from our pets.
Most of the illnesses that animals contract are only problematic for the animal itself and those of the same species or sharing the same enclosure. Zoonoses are diseases that can be passed from animal to human. The animal doesn’t have to be visibly sick to infect a human: animals can be carriers of disease. Examples of zoonoses are ringworm (fungal infection), roundworm, toxoplasmosis, cat scratch fever, rat-bite fever, psittacosis and salmonella.

There are a number of measures you can take to prevent or reduce the chance of infection:

  • Have your house pet vaccinated, de-worm regularly, and fight fleas, lice and ticks. This can be done in consultation with your vet.
  • Wash your hands after contact with animals.
  • Don’t allow an animal to lick your face.
  • Don’t let pets into the kitchen and the bedroom.
  • After a scratch or a bite, clean and disinfect the wound thoroughly. If you are unsure of the seriousness of the wound, or if you become ill, contact your family physician and make sure to report how the wound was caused.
  • Provide animals with clean water and good nutrition. Be extra careful with offal and raw meat.