Most people know that wild animals can give rabies to people, but what they may not realize is that pets like cats, dogs and birds can pass diseases to people. That may sound scary, but prevention isn’t all that hard. Here’s what to know about keeping pets and people safe from each other.
First, don’t panic, says AAHA member Martha Gearhart, DVM, owner of Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital, Pleasant Valley, N.Y. “If [you] practice good hygiene and common sense, the risk is none!” Some zoonotic diseases are spread by bites or scratches, but prompt cleaning should take care of any problems from those incidents.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta agree: “Although animals can carry germs… you are more likely to get some of these germs from contaminated food or water than from your pet or another animal.”