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How to Protect Your Family from Pet-Shared Disease

Having a companion, whether it be furry, feathered or scaled is a rewarding experience. They provide companionship, can help teach children responsibility and social skills and improve our health, but it’s important to know that some animals can spread germs to people that can cause illnesses.

A zoonosis, also known as zoonotic disease refers to diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans—whether wild or domesticated. When you have close contact with a family pet, the chances of a zoonotic disease increases. Although your chances of getting a disease from a pet are small, it’s a good idea to be aware of the potential hazard. Here are a few tips to avoid spreading diseases that your pet may share with the family…


1. Choose the Right Pet

Like people, animals can carry germs while appearing perfectly healthy. Before you adopt a new family pet, consider the people living in your household. Young children under the age of 5 should not own a turtle, frog, or other reptiles. They may look harmless, but these pets commonly carry Salmonella on their outer skin.

Pregnant women should avoid handling pet rodents. These pets carry the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus that can cause birth defects. Pregnant women are also susceptible to getting toxoplasmosis from kitty litter, so if you have a cat and are expecting, please let someone else change the litter.

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