We all love our pets as if they were genuine members of the family. While that love is very strong, and the desire to snuggle and cuddle is hard to deny, our affection for our animals can actually cause us harm. Beyond the occasional scratch you can get if you hug Kitty too hard, there are also diseases humans can get from pets, a few of which are even deadly. While these are rare, and most can be prevented by simply regularly washing your hands, it doesn't make these diseases you get from pets any less frightening.
When it comes to diseases pets give to humans, a lot of it has to do with the parasites they carry. Worms and fleas can often be bearers of unusual illnesses that can greatly impact your health. At the least, these diseases and parasites are pretty annoying so keeping yourself clean and your pets clean are recommended.
So give fluffy a pat, and maybe a bath, and let's look in disgusting detail at a few diseases your pet can give you.
This is one that most people know about. Rabies affects many different breeds of animal, including man's best friend, the dog. Dogs may exhibit a sort of craze or rage when they have rabies, and may even foam at the mouth in extreme cases. However, much of the time they exhibit next to no symptoms aside from mild confusion and lethargy.
If a dog with rabies bites you, they can pass the disease into your blood, and it can begin to impact your health. It will incubate in your body for one to two months, then you'll begin to feel pain and aching around the site of the bite. From there you'll begin to get worse, exhibiting flu-like symptoms, then high fever, confusion, and eventually coma. If left untreated, rabies can kill you.
Although the word "worm" is in the name, Ringworm is actually a type of fungus that affects the skin, and can make you itchy around the scalp, groin, or feet. It can actually effect your skin anywhere, and often shows up as a circular raised red patch, thus the name Ringworm. Unfortunately humans aren't the only one who can get this rashy infection. Dogs - and especially cats - can get it, and because it's so infectious, can pass it to their owners just from a simple petting or cuddling session. Luckily it's very treatable with cream and pills.
Unlike Ringworm, Hookworm is much a more wormlike parasite and can be a serious problem. In general, humans get this worm through the skin, commonly from walking barefoot on contaminated soil. However, you can also get this parasite from your pets through skin-to-skin contact, as well as from handling their contaminated feces. Once there, the worms can cause itching, pain, and eventually diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia. Although it's not common, this kind of infection can in fact kill you, so if you suspect you have this parasite, seeing a doctor is key.
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that can live in your intestines. You get the parasite from ingesting contaminated water or food that has touched infected soil or feces. This is one of those diseases that can impact your health as well as your dog's. In a dog, the parasite can cause Giardiasis, which leads to weight loss, diarrhea, and even eventually death. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy for pet-owners to get this parasite just from trying to take care of their dog. In humans, it mostly causes diarrhea, and is much less deadly. It can be treated in both dogs and humans with pretty easy medication.