Here’s a certain amount of ickiness you have to accept when you adopt a pet. You know, a good does of eww that goes right along with the whole snuggling and unconditional love thing. That mystery stain on the couch from Mr. Bubbles your basset hound? Best not to think about it. Those tracks leading away from Muppet’s litter box? Let’s pretend it never happened. And don’t ever wonder where that tongue’s been.
But can all those pet germs actually make you sick? In a word: yup.
Just like you can catch a cold from your husband through a kiss or unobstructed sneeze, pets can also pass diseases along to their owners. Don’t worry–we’re not talking about the Pomeranian Death Flu here; nearly everything you could catch from your dog or cat is preventable and treatable. “If you wash your hands and handle your animals carefully and keep them vaccinated and healthy, you shouldn’t have any problems,” says veterinarian Emilio DeBess, DVM, public health veterinary for the state of Oregon. (Find out how to keep your pet clean and disease-free, in The Right Way to Wash Your Pup.)
Here’s a list of what your kitty or pooch might be sharing with you–and what to do about it.
When it comes to diseases passed from pet to owner, ringworm is about as contagious as it gets. Ringworm spores can survive for months without a host, where a pet could pick up the fungal infection.
Symptoms in pets: Skin lesions and patches of hair loss with a red mark in the center
Symptoms in people: Red, circular patches on the skin Continue reading