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What infections can be passed from animals to people (zoonoses)?

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What infections can be passed from animals to people (zoonoses)?
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And also we pass on disease to animals. The one that comes to mind for me is MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It has mutated from us into a variety of species - dogs, cats, horses, birds. And of course once they have contracted it from us, they can pass it back to us.

Hygiene is critical. We have a couple of sources to help people learn about how to keep yourselves and your pets healthy:

1. The Bella Moss Foundation

2. Pets MRSA

3. Helping Prevent MRSA in Pets 

It's important not to panic and then rush to get rid of your pet. When we bring an animal home - any animal - we have comitted to a life for better or worse in sickness and in health similar to a marriage...and not just when it is convenient or easy or fun. Animals so enrich our lives and bring us so much joy and learning. They also bring us healing.

I am one of the USA Reps for The Bella Moss Foundation so I know this particular zoonotic disease can be healed and prevented. But get informed so you know. And remember we brought this about through things like the overuse of antibiotics. In fact, Dr. Richard Allport - who works with the foundation - has said we wouldn't even have this problem in the first place if we'd heeded the laws of nature instead of working to try and annihilate the invisible perceived enemy of microbes. 

The body is where healing begins and ends. The body, the terrain, is what counts NOT the germs. Even Louis Pasteur admitted that at the end of his life.  Here is a great quote by veterinarian Dr. Don Hamilton in his book Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs

"Skin infections and eruptions, like all symptoms, represent the body's attempt to rid itself of disease. Though we commonly speak of infected skin and ears, the bacteria we culture from these areas are almost always common species that are normally found in these regions. The most common skin infection, known as "staph" infection, occurs when Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial species that is on virtually everyone's skin, grows in large numbers in sores on the skin. The obvious question is, 'Why does this occur in one animal and not another if the bacteria are the cause of the problem?' The answer lies in Pasteur's opinion from his later years: 'The microbe is nothing, the terrain everything.' The bacteria have merely seized an opportunity to grow, because the body provided the opportunity. ...Even in 'infections' the body is responsible - thus it is extremely difficult to treat an infection of the skin or the ears with antibiotic therapy. Without changing the terrain (the body), the infection will return again and again. Antibiotics may help alleviate the symptoms and slow down an aggressive bacterial growth that has taken a strong hold, but regaining immune health is the only hope for cure."

 Some more information for you to help prevent it by building a solid foundation of health  AND questions to guide you:

Questions for you:
1. What do you feed?
2. Do you vaccinate yearly?
3. Do you use topical or oral flea/tick/heartworm preventions?
4. What do you use for cleaning products in your home?
5. Do you use pesticides or herbicides?
About antibiotics:


Articles to read on Feeding:


Animal Talk Naturally shows to listen to on feeding- in order:


Educational websites: with our friend veterinarian Dr. Tom Lonsdale

And my favorite natural modality to use with animals - especially horses and dogs:
"Routine vaccination has adverse side-effects, either short or long term. With vaccines that are repeated year after year, the frequency and severity of these side-effects in our pets has increased dramatically. Most of the problems involve the immune system. After all, the immune system is what vaccines are designed to stimulate. But they do so in a very unnatural way that can overwhelm and confuse the immune system." donna starita mehan DVM

Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Ph.D..- "Annual revaccination provides no benefit and may increase the risk for adverse reactions. The percentage of vaccinated animals (those vaccinated only as puppies) protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus in the study was greater than 95%." Current and Future Canine and Feline Vaccination Programs. Dr. Ronald Schultz is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, UW-Madison. Schultz, R.D. - Current & Future Canine & Feline Vaccination Programs. Vet Med 3: No. 3, 233-254, 1998 more . A chart provided in the report shows immunity levels for all vaccines currently given to dogs lasting a minimum of 5 years with most lasting 7-15 years!

Don Hamilton, DVM -Yearly "boosters" are unnecessary, provide no benefit if given (will not increase immunity). Thus boosters are either a legal issue (Rabies) or a manipulation issue (inducing clients to come in for examination rather than directly suggesting an examination).

Charles E Loops DVM - "Homeopathic veterinarians and other holistic practitioners have maintained for some time that vaccinations do more harm than they provide benefits. Vaccinations represent a major assault on the body's immune system.... Vaccine induced chronic diseases range from life-threatening conditions such as auto-immune crises to conditions destroying the quality of life of an animal as in chronic skin allergies."
These things will help you get a handle on keeping your pets well, NATURALLY

Many infections can be passed from animals to people. The medical name for these infections is zoonoses. They can be passed on in different ways. And different animals can pass on different infections.

However, it's rare for animals to pass infections to humans.

How do animals pass infections on?
Which animals can pass infections on?
What infections can be passed on?
Infections passed on through food
Preventing infections
What if I'm pregnant?
Getting help

How do animals pass infections on?

Animals can pass on infections to a person directly. For example, if:

  • an infected animal bites you, or
  • you have contact with infected animal stools.

You can also pick up infections from animals indirectly through:

  • contaminated water, or
  • contaminated food, including meat and raw foods such as vegetables and fruit.

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Which animals can pass infections on?

Many animals can pass infections on to people, directly or indirectly. For example:

  • Pets like dogs, cats, birds and horses.
  • Exotic pets, such as reptiles like lizards, snakes and terrapins.
  • Farm animals, like sheep, pigs, cattle and poultry.
  • Wild animals, such as foxes and deer.

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What infections can be passed on?

There are many infections that animals can pass on to people. Below are some examples:

  • Giardiasis - a parasitic infection spread through contaminated stools from an infected animal or person.
  • Lyme disease - can be passed on if a tick bites you after it's bitten an infected animal.
  • Ringworm - a fungal infection that can be passed on from dogs, cats and hamsters.
  • Toxocariasis - caused by worms found in dogs and cats.
  • Toxoplasmosis - caused by a parasite found in cat stools, as well as in meat such as lamb, pork and venison.

Although it's unlikely, cats and dogs infected with mites (tiny parasitic insects) can pass scabies on to people.

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Infections passed on through food

Some infections can be passed on through food originally from an animal source, for example:

  • meat,
  • fish and shellfish,
  • milk and other dairy products, and
  • eggs.

It is also possible for animal infections to be passed on through contaminated raw vegetables and fruit.

There are many bacteria which can contaminate food and cause food poisoning. The most common types are:

  • Campylobacter - found in raw poultry, unpasteurized milk, red meat and untreated water.
  • Salmonella - found in unpasteurized milk, eggs and raw egg products, raw meat and poultry.
  • Some strains of E.coli (Escherichia coli), although serious infections are rare.

Listeriosis is a rare bacterial infection, picked up from infected food, particularly pâté, certain cheeses, and unwashed fruit and vegetables, including pre-packed salad.

Botulism is a rare and dangerous infection, caused by Clostridium botulinum, the most powerful bacterial toxin (poison) known. This is most commonly found in meat pastes and other processed animal products. Most of the 46 cases reported between 1922 and 1989 arose from food prepared in the home.

Some parasitic infections can also be passed on through food. For example, you can get:

  • toxoplasmosis by eating contaminated meat, or
  • a tapeworm infection (rare ) by eating contaminated meat or drinking contaminated water.

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Preventing infections

Human and animal waste must be treated, to prevent or remove health hazards. Regulations also govern how it is disposed of, to prevent pollution. It may be necessary to take special care after flooding. For example, if human waste has contaminated land where animals scrape or feed.

Before meat can be sold, it goes through a strict inspection system, to ensure it is fit for people to eat. For example, since 1996, strict controls have prevented meat from cattle with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) from entering the human food chain. This is because variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is caused by the same strain of strain of infection that causes BSE.

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Below are some steps that will help you to avoid catching an infection from an animal. You can also encourage children to take these steps.

Avoid contact with infected animals, especially direct contact with their faces - do not kiss your pet. Avoid direct contact with animals' stools. If you have a pet, follow your vet's advice about treating it regularly for infections such as worms.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water:

  • before and after preparing or handling any food, including raw meat or fish,
  • before eating,
  • after using the toilet, and
  • after close contact with animals, for example, farm animals or pets such as cats and dogs, or contact with animal stools.

Take care when preparing and handling food:

  • cook meat or fish thoroughly, and make sure it's cooked all the way through,
  • avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and fish,
  • wash raw vegetables and fruit before you eat them,
  • store food properly, for example, by keeping your fridge and freezer at the correct temperatures,
  • use food by its 'best before' or 'use by' date, and
  • clean your work surfaces and kitchen equipment thoroughly.

If you're traveling in an area where you're at risk from animal infections, take special care with your personal hygiene, as well as your food and drink.

There may be other steps you can take to prevent particular infections. You can read more about preventing individual infections in our health encyclopaedia - see 'getting help' below.

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What if I'm pregnant?

If you're pregnant, it's important that you take steps to avoid animal infections. Some can damage your unborn baby, as well as making you seriously ill. These include, for example, listeriosis and toxoplasmosis.

It's also important for pregnant women to avoid contact with ewes (female sheep) during the lambing season.

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Getting help

If you get bitten by an animal, it's important to clean the wound immediately. Unless the bite is minor, you should seek advice from a health professional, although even minor bites can become infected.

If you think you have caught an infection from an animal, speak with your doctor.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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