18 July 2011

Fight these animal infections tooth and nail

Certain bacteria commonly found in dogs and cats are harmless to your pet's health, but may be deadly to humans.

Certain bacteria commonly found in dogs and cats are harmless to your pet's health, but may be deadly to humans.

The micro-organism Pasteurella multocida is found in the saliva of approximately 66% of dogs and 70% of cats. Cats and dogs are not affected by this micro-organism themselves. It is also found in cattle, poultry (it is known as avian cholera), rodents, rabbits and pigs, but in these animals can lead to symptoms ranging from sniffing, to bleeding to abscesses.

  1. Parasitic diseases, of which toxoplasmosis – which can only be caused by cats – is by far the worst. People who have cat litter trays in their houses, can get this. If a pregnant woman is infected by this parasite, her unborn baby could die, or the baby can be born blind or mentally handicapped. Other parasitic diseases that are spread by dogs and cats, include Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhoea in humans. Then there are also ringworm and roundworm infections.
  2. Bacterial or viral diseases include rabies, which can only be prevented if the person who has been bitten, is immediately vaccinated. Cat scratch disease or bartonellosis is caused by a bacterium known as Bartonella henselae and is transmitted by cats. It causes swollen glands, headaches and fever, which usually disappear after two to five months. Bacteria with names such as Salmonella, or Campylobacter, which can lead to bloody diarrhoea and can also be fatal, are also transmitted by dogs and cats.

  1. You certainly do not have to have your pet put down. Take proper precautions.
  2. Never handle your dog's faeces without gloves. Also do not work in the garden without wearing garden gloves, since all sorts or organisms can lurk in the animal faeces and the garden soil.
  3. Always wash your hands after touching your dog, whether you touched its face, its body or its head. Teach your children to do the same.
  4. Also teach your children never to eat sand or soil and cover your sandpit with a solid cover.
  5. Teach your children not to play too roughly with animals.
  6. De-worm your dogs regularly.
  7. Vaccinate your dog against rabies.


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