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Can I catch something from my pet?
A common question vets get from pet owners is whether or not they can give or get certain medical conditions from their pets. In most instances, families who regularly wash their hands and keep a clean house shouldn't be affected by something their pet has, but there are some diseases that are zootonic, meaning they can be passed between animals and humans.
Dogs and cats can develop a variety of intestinal worms that can be transmitted from animal to human. Kittens and puppies are more susceptible to having roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms, as these parasites are commonly transferred to them from their mothers in the womb. Although this is typical, in most instances the dog or cat's immune system is able to kill off the worms as they grow. To be on the safe side, always make sure to wash your hands after playing with the pup or new kitty and use Poopy Packs to clean up your dog's feces. Pregnant women should also refrain from cleaning their kittens' litter boxes as it could expose them to toxoplasmosis, though this condition is rare.
Starting your dog or cat on heartworm preventative pet drugs like Revolution will help ward off heartworm disease as well as many other types of worms. Using these year-round medications will not only protect your pet, but also your family from worms.
Flea, tick and mosquito diseases
Ticks, fleas and mosquitoes can carry many diseases. Bartonella in cats is transmitted by fleas, West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and Lyme disease is carried by ticks. All of these serious conditions are zoonotic, meaning they can spread from animal to human, but it is rare that animals pass them on to their owners or vice versa.
You can help minimize the chances of you or your pet being infected by these diseases by keeping the animal on flea and tick preventative medication. Frontline Plus, Pet Armor and Comfortis all work to ward off fleas, ticks chewing lice and more for an entire month. Keep the product working by applying or orally giving the dog its medicine on the same day each month.
Although products like these are highly efficient, you should always check your dog for ticks and fleas after playing outside as there is a chance a parasite could still hitch a ride.