Dogs are often considered as man’s best friend, but they can also be a source of some illnesses that can affect humans. These are called zoonotic diseases, and they can be spread by direct or indirect contact with infected animals or their feces, saliva, urine, or blood. Some of the most common zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted by dogs are rabies, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and ringworm.
Rabies: A Deadly Virus That Affects the Brain
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals, including humans and dogs. It is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, but it can also be spread by scratches or contact with saliva or nervous tissue. Rabies causes fever, headache, anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and difficulty swallowing. If left untreated, it can lead to paralysis, coma, and death.
The best way to prevent rabies is to vaccinate your dog regularly and avoid contact with stray or wild animals. If you or your dog are bitten by an animal that may have rabies, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. You may need to receive a series of shots to prevent the infection from spreading.
Leptospirosis: A Bacterial Infection That Affects the Kidneys and Liver
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can affect humans and animals, especially dogs. It is caused by bacteria called leptospira that are found in soil and water contaminated by animal urine. Leptospirosis can cause fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, and kidney or liver failure.
The best way to prevent leptospirosis is to keep your dog away from stagnant water or areas where rodents or other animals may urinate. You should also vaccinate your dog against leptospirosis and wash your hands after handling your dog or its urine. If you or your dog develop symptoms of leptospirosis, see a doctor or a veterinarian as soon as possible. Antibiotics can treat the infection if started early.
Salmonellosis: A Foodborne Illness That Causes Diarrhea
Salmonellosis is a foodborne illness that can affect humans and animals, including dogs. It is caused by bacteria called salmonella that are found in raw or undercooked meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, or contaminated fruits and vegetables. Salmonellosis can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
The best way to prevent salmonellosis is to cook food thoroughly and wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. You should also avoid feeding your dog raw or undercooked meat or eggs, or giving them bones that may splinter and damage their intestines. If you or your dog develop symptoms of salmonellosis, drink plenty of fluids and seek medical attention if the symptoms are severe or last more than three days.
Campylobacteriosis: A Common Cause of Diarrhea in Dogs
Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that can affect humans and animals, especially dogs. It is caused by bacteria called campylobacter that are found in the intestines of many animals, including poultry, cattle, pigs, sheep, and dogs. Campylobacteriosis can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody stools.
The best way to prevent campylobacteriosis is to practice good hygiene and sanitation. You should wash your hands after handling your dog or its feces, and clean any surfaces or objects that may have come in contact with them. You should also avoid feeding your dog raw or undercooked poultry or meat, or giving them unpasteurized milk or dairy products. If you or your dog develop symptoms of campylobacteriosis, drink plenty of fluids and seek medical attention if the symptoms are severe or last more than a week.
Ringworm: A Fungal Infection That Causes Skin Lesions
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect humans and animals, including dogs. It is caused by fungi called dermatophytes that live on the skin, hair, or nails of infected animals or humans. Ringworm can cause circular patches of hair loss, scaling, redness, itching, and sometimes blisters on the skin.
The best way to prevent ringworm is to keep your dog groomed and clean. You should also avoid sharing grooming tools or bedding with other animals or humans that may have ringworm. If you or your dog develop symptoms of ringworm, see a doctor or a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Antifungal medications can clear the infection in a few weeks.