How Zoonotic Diseases Can Affect Your Pet and You

Dog under blanketThere’s no question that pets bring joy, laughter, and a depth of feeling to our lives that is hard to find anywhere else. Unfortunately, they can occasionally bring illness in the form of zoonotic diseases, as well.

A zoonotic disease is one that can be passed from animals to people, or vice versa. Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds, cattle, pigs, rodents and wild animals can all potentially spread disease to humans. Fortunately, even though there are over one hundred known zoonotic diseases in the world at large, most are not found in the United States, thanks to good hygiene and modern veterinary care.

Even though your chances of catching a disease from your pet are low, it’s important to understand the risks associated with zoonotic diseases and how you can protect yourself and your family.

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Tularemia Is Called “Rabbit Fever” For a Reason

Tularemia is a serious bacterial disease most commonly found in rabbits – hence, the name, “Rabbit Fever”. Unfortunately, it can be transmitted to pets and humans through the bite of an infected tick or deerfly, or by touching/ handling an infected sick or dead animal.

Tularemia can also be contracted by inhaling airborne bacteria, eating an infected rabbit, drinking water or food contaminated by an infected animal, or contact with contaminated grass or soil.

What Causes Tularemia?

The bacterium causing Tularemia is Francisella tularensis, and is found worldwide in a variety of wild animals, birds and insects. The most common carriers, however, are rabbits and rodents. Continue…