The unconditional love of a dog or cat can boost health by lowering stress. And walking a dog every day can reduce your risk of obesity and heart disease.
But your pet can give you more than loyalty and companionship… They may pass on illnesses, too. They’re called zoonotic diseases, and some of them are serious, even deadly.
Here are five animal-transmitted conditions every pet owner should know about…
Cat owners–especially pregnant women–need to be aware of this disease. Toxoplasmosis can infect a fetus and cause miscarriage or birth defects. A protozoan organism in contaminated cat feces causes this illness.1 That’s why pregnant women should let someone else clean the litter box.
Keep your face as far away as possible from kitty litter dust when scooping. It’s also a good idea to wear a protective mask over your mouth and nose. This cuts your chances of inhaling the microscopic protozoa. Protective eyewear is smart, too. You can find both at any drug store.
Most of us know you can get salmonella poisoning from contaminated food. But pets can also transmit this serious intestinal ailment. Turtles and lizards are the most common carriers. Dogs, cats, birds, and horses may harbor it, too.2
Although your vet can test your pet for salmonella, the best protection is to wash your hands after handling any animal.
3. Parrot Fever
This bacterial infection comes from breathing in fine airborne particles…from the dried feces of infected birds. This includes common pet birds such as parakeets, parrots, cockatiels, and macaws. Human symptoms include muscle aches, fever, and chills.
To avoid the disease, clean your bird’s cage often and wear protective goggles and a mask while doing it. Also, take your bird to the vet right away if it shows signs of illness. Treating your pet can eliminate the chance of parrot fever infecting you.
4. Cat Scratch Disease
Fleas pass the bacteria that causes this illness from cat to cat. But humans can contract it through a cat bite or scratch.3 People suffer flu-like symptoms. Some even go on to develop serious problems, such as heart valve damage.
Keep your risk low by controlling fleas on your cat. One natural way to do this is to dilute five drops of lavender essential oil in three tablespoons of water. Then apply it to your cat’s collar. Also avoid play that can lead to scratches. And always wash cat bites and scratches with soap and water as soon as they occur.
Puppies and kittens often pass the eggs and larvae of these intestinal parasites through feces. Roundworm infections usually aren’t serious, but can cause nerve or eye damage in some people.4
Deworming your kitten or puppy is the first step to lowering your risk of infection. You can take them to a holistic vet or add an herbal formula for removing intestinal parasites to their food or water. These liquids are available online. And always wash your hands after dealing with droppings.
What natural remedies do you use to keep your pets healthy…and free from diseases they could pass on to you? Let us know in the comments.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch
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