Zoonotic diseases in dogs can be spread by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. However, whatever the actual cause is, they all have one thing in common; they can spread from your dog to you.
Zoonotic diseases are defined as any disease that can spread from animals to people, and there are several that are specific to dogs.
Depending on what the actual disease is, it can be spread in several different methods.
Most of these diseases produce only mild forms of illness in people, but some, such as rabies, which is rare but does still occur, can be fatal.
The risk factor with these is the same as with any other potential disease, as it will all depend on the strength of your immune system.
If the immune system is not fully developed or is in the least bit compromised, you are at risk of contracting a disease from your dog.
Zoonotic diseases in dogs by no means imply that it is not safe to have a dog; it simply means that there are some precautions you should take.
The first groups at risk are infants, very young children, as well as the elderly.
Infants and young children are still in the process of developing a fully powered immune system, while the elderly in most all cases will have weakened immune systems.
Pregnant women are also considered very high risks of contracting a disease from a dog, as well as anyone that is undergoing any type of cancer therapy.
Transplant recipients or any other person that is on immune-suppressive medications are also at a higher risk, as well as anyone that has a chronic medical condition such as diabetes.
AIDS patients or anyone with the HIV infection are also at risk.
The following diseases are not all conclusive, but are rather the most common Zoonotic diseases in dogs.
It is very helpful for any owner to have at least a basic understanding of the disease and the symptoms that your dog will have.
It also helps to know what symptoms will appear if you have contracted the disease from your pet.
The first of the Zoonotic diseases in dogs is referred to as Brucellosis.
This can be a very difficult disease to catch early in your dog as they will not have any real warning signs of the disease.
However, as it progresses, they will begin to show signs of swollen lymph nodes or swollen testicles. In female dogs, it can also cause abortions.
If you do contract this disease from your dog, the symptoms will be flu-like in natures, as well as arthritic like soreness.
In males, sore testicles may also develop.
The next Zoonotic disease is called Campylobacter and this disease is much easier to identify in your dog as it has one very characteristic symptom; diarrhea.
But it will not be a form of diarrhea that comes and goes; instead, it will become quite severe.
The symptoms that appear in people infected by this disease are also flu-like in nature and will include both diarrhea as well as vomiting.
If it is severe enough, you may also see signs of blood in either symptom.
The next potential form of Zoonotic diseases in dogs is called Cryptosporidia and this one is also very difficult to identify in your dog.
If your dog is very healthy they may show no symptoms at all and it can go unnoticed entirely until they are examined by your veterinarian.
However, if their immune system is compromised at all, they will also develop diarrhea.
However, the symptoms in people are usually much broader and will include diarrhea and vomiting, as well as abdominal pain.
If an owner has an immune challenged system, it can also cause pneumonia to develop.
Contrary to a lot of misconception, fleas are a Zoonotic disease. The obvious symptoms with your dog will be itching that can become quite severe and may also include small red lesions.
When it is spread to humans, it also causes itching and is almost always accompanied with small red lesions.
The next of the Zoonotic diseases in dogs is referred to as Giarda, and this is another very challenging disease to identify.
Puppies or young dogs may get diarrhea, but commonly dogs past this stage will show absolutely no signs at all. However, it is not the same when it is passed to humans.
People usually start out by developing gas that rapidly turns into sudden and very powerful bouts of diarrhea.
Once this occurs, nausea and abdominal pain are not far behind.
The next Zoonotic disease is hookworm infestation, but this is very easy to spot in your dog.
Because the hookworm is basically sucking your dog’s blood, they will rapidly become anemic, develop diarrhea, and start to lose weight.
However, the classic sign is a very sudden deterioration of the quality of their hair coat.
When people are infected by hookworms, they will develop skin lesions that become extremely itchy.
Zoonotic diseases in dogs continue with what is called Leptospirosis and this is not only quite easy to spot in your dog, it is also extremely dangerous.
The symptoms usually appear very rapidly once they are infected and include a sudden fever, bleeding disorders, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as jaundice.
However, if this infection is severe enough, it can easily cause kidney failure that could rapidly take the life of your dog.
Although it is not fatal in people, it does have some very serious affects. It easily causes flu-like symptoms, can cause leg pains, meningitis, as well as kidney failure.
In immune suppressed pregnant women, it could cause an abortion to occur.
Another very common type of Zoonotic diseases in dogs is ringworm infections.
This infection causes red, itchy and circular lesions that are almost always associated with massive hair loss. If it is severe enough, it can also cause your dogs infected skin to become crusty.
If a human becomes infected, it will also cause very red and itchy skin lesions that are also circular in appearance.
This is perhaps the most common of all of the Zoonotic diseases in dogs and has one very characteristic symptom that will appear in your dog.
Once infected, they almost always develop a pot belly.
It can also stunt growth in young dogs as well as cause both vomiting and diarrhea.
This infection is especially dangerous to young children, especially if the infection is spread to the eyes by direct contact.
It can, in severe cases, cause blindness. However, the most common symptoms are joint pain, pneumonia, and flu-like symptoms.
Zoonotic diseases in dogs will never be entirely prevented, but there are several basic things you can do to protect yourself as well as your dog.
Keeping your pet healthy as well as utilizing good hygiene practices can drastically reduce the risk.
Having your pet thoroughly examined twice a year will catch most all of these diseases, as well as keeping your dog as healthy as you can.
Never feed your dog under cooked or raw meat, and keep them from drinking out of the toilet or eating any type of animal feces.
As any dog owner knows, it is almost a badge of honor for a dog to roll on, sniff, and even cat droppings, but it is very unhealthy.
Zoonotic diseases in dogs can also be drastically reduced by using good hygiene practices, especially when handling their waste.
If your dog does accidentally bite or scratch you, wash the wound immediately with soap and water to prevent infections from developing.