You’ve heard the phrase, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” But letting your dog, or any pet, sleep in your bed could kill you, since some diseases can be transmitted from pets to humans. Scientists call them zoonoses and they can range from a case of worms to bubonic plague.
So, what’s most common pet-transmitted illness? Cat scratch fever. It’s a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the lymph nodes, liver, kidney and spleen. Despite the name, it’s not getting scratched by a cat that causes most infections - it’s getting licked.
How else can you and your pet stay healthy? Keep their flea and worm meds current. Most of the parasitic worms that infect pets are happy to take up residence in people. And, many of the serious diseases that animals transmit to humans, like bubonic plague, are the result of flea infestations.
Another pet-safety tip? Wash your hands after touching, feeding, or cleaning up after your pet. Animal saliva contains a lot of different bacteria that can cause infections, including strains that are antibiotic-resistant.
Did you know your fish could make you sick too? If you're sticking your hands in the tank and you have a paper cut or other small wound, you can get fish-tank granuloma, which is a bacterium that causes painful skim ulcers. So, clean the tank with rubber gloves.