SmartVets Animal Hospital

511 Cameron Road, Tauranga, (Between 10th &11th Ave)

Routine Visits and 24/7 Emergency Service

All hours phone: 07-5715003 

What are zoonotic diseases?
Health benefits of owing a pet cannot be overstated, but it should not be ignored that pets may sometimes carry germs that can make people sick. Such animal diseases that may be transmitted to humans are called zoonotic diseases or simply zoonoses. Fecal oral route is a common route of contamination for these diseases.

What are some common zoonotic diseases?  
Some zoonoses that can be acquired from your puppy, kitten, adult dog or cat include:
Parasitic worms
Ringworm
Toxoplasmosis
Cat scratch fever
Salmonellosis

Parasitic worms 
Zoonotic parasitic worms in dogs and cats include hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms. Humans get infected when they accidentally eat something contaminated with these worms’ eggs. Additionally hookworm larva can also burrow through intact skin. Children are more vulnerable to these worms, due to their poor hygienic practices.

Prevention
Routine intestinal worming of pets.
Adequate personal hygiene.
Preventing your pets’ access to the poop of other animals while you’re walking or hiking outdoors.

Ringworm
Unlike the parasitic worms, ringworm is a fungus affecting the skin. Young cats and dogs are important reservoirs. People get the disease when they make direct contact with the infected animals. Indirect contact with spores from the environment (e.g. spores on animal hair) may also transmit the disease. Ringworm lesions in people comprise itchy expanding circular areas of redness with associated scale and crust. 

Prevention
Treatment of infected animals.
Personal hygiene (hand washing with appropriate disinfectant and avoiding handling of infected animals).
Vacuum clean to remove spores contaminating the environment.
Medical treatment of human infection.

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a protozoal parasite and is spread mainly by:  eating inadequately cooked food that contains the protozoal cysts; through exposure to infected cat feces or transplacental transmission. Although the infection may cause no symptoms in adults, infection during pregnancy might lead to severe consequences to the fetus including death.

Prevention
 By disposing cat faeces on a daily basis.
 At risk people such as a pregnant woman should avoid cleaning litter trays.
 Not feeding pet cats uncooked meat scraps (esp. pork).

Cat scratch fever

This disease is acquired form cats that are exposed to bacteria called Bartonella henselae. In cats, the bug is spread by cat flea.  Infected cats appear clinically normal. In people the infection results from cat inflicted injuries such as scratch or a bite from an infected cat. The symptoms of infection include local inflammation at the site of wound, fever, malaise and enlarged lymph nodes.

Prevention
Avoid cat inflicted injuries when handling cats.
Do not let cats touch or lick areas of skin that have cuts or wounds.
Flea control for cats.

Salmonellosis
Salmonellosis is caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Infected dogs and cats usually have diarrhea that contains blood or mucus. Animals appear tired and may have fever or vomit. Sometimes the infected pets may show no clinical symptoms. Contact with sick pets and/or handling their waste transmits the disease to people.

Prevention
Wash hand properly with soap and water followed by proper rinsing and drying after handling pets, pet food and food trays or pet waste.
Keep toddlers and preschoolers away from pet food and feeding areas.
Clean pet food bowls and feeding areas routinely.