Pet Care Articles...

At Village Veterinary Practice, we care about your pet's well being and home care as much as their medical health. Below you will find some articles that we have written to help you take care of your pet.

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Rabies and other Zoonotic Diseases

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed from an animal to a person. These diseases can be transmitted to people in a variety of ways, including; bites, scratches, fecal contamination, and also from fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes. The majority of zoonotic diseases are more commonly acquired from the environment. Most zoonotic diseases primarily affect immunodeficient people; infants, the elderly, people receiving cancer chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy and people with AIDS. Here are some of the more common zoonotic diseases seen in urban or suburban settings.

All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to rabies virus infection. Worldwide more than 30,000 human rabies-related deaths are reported each year; 10 to 12 million people receive post rabies exposure treatment. In the state of Illinois in 2005, there were 51 positive rabies animals tested by the state public health and agriculture diagnostic laboratories- bats (43), skunks (6), cattle (1), and fox (1).

Several zoonotic diseases can be transmitted by inadvertent contact with infected urine or feces. Feral or outdoor cats often utilize sandboxes and playgrounds as a litter box. It is very important to practice good hygiene after playing in these areas and especially before preparing food. Hookworms and Roundworms can cause conditions called Ocular larval migrans (worms in the eye), Visceral larval migrans (worms in internal organs) or Cutaneous larval migrans (worms under your skin). Cryptosporidium organisms and Giardia can cause diarrhea in humans. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that attacks the liver and kidneys. Toxoplasma gondii is an intestinal parasite specific to cats that can infect people, especially pregnant women who have not been exposed to cat litter. However, the most common means of transmission to humans is raw or undercooked meat, not their cat.

Insect carriers like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas can transmit many other diseases from animals to people. One of the more recent zoonotic outbreaks was the West Nile Virus. These bugs are also responsible for passing along Lymes disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Typhus, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. Some of these diseases are more prevalent in certain regions of the United States, but pet travel breaks down the normal geographical barriers.

Your veterinarian is responsible for protecting your pet and your family from zoonotic diseases. An appropriate vaccination and de-worming schedule, flea and tick prevention and good personal hygiene can help decrease these risks. Ask us at Village Veterinary Practice for help and advice if you have any questions.



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