You love having your furry companions around and enjoy playing with them, cuddling them, and on occasion, even planting a kiss on them. Unfortunately, just like us, our pets sometimes get sick. In addition to treating your pet, so they get over their sickness quickly, you might be wondering if their disease poses any risk to you. This article will go over some common pet diseases that can transfer to humans. 


What Are Zoonotic Diseases?

While some pet diseases don’t travel across species, others (zoonotic diseases) can infect humans. Zoonotic diseases can range from mild short-term illnesses to more serious lifelong illnesses. Most zoonotic diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasites. 

If your pet has a zoonotic disease and you come in close contact with them, you could be exposed to that disease. Here is a list of some pet diseases that pose a risk to humans:

  • Ringworm: A contagious fungal infection of the skin that’s characterized by scaly, ring-shaped patches. 
  • Giardia: Diarrhea caused by a tiny parasitic germ called giardia. 
  • Salmonellosis: An intestinal disease caused by the salmonella bacteria.
  • Leptospirosis: A bacterial infection that causes high fever, muscle pain, headache, and red eyes. 
  • Scabies: A contagious skin disease marked by itching and small, raised red spots.

These are just a few common examples of zoonotic diseases. Many more diseases like bird flu, ebola, rabies, and even the plague could be transmittable to humans. To find out more about your pet’s particular disease and whether it poses a risk to you and your family, we recommend consulting your doctor. 


The best way to avoid getting a zoonotic disease from your house pet is to maintain good hygiene and follow some common-sense advice. Here are some steps to ensure you stay healthy even if your pet is feeling under the weather:

  • Don’t put off visits to the vet. If you suspect something is wrong with your pet, contact a professional. 
  • Make sure to wash hands thoroughly after interacting with a sick pet. 
  • Clean up after your pet immediately after they go to the bathroom
  • If you are not sure whether a disease affecting your pet can be transferred to humans, reach out to your health provider

What to Do if You Have a Zoonotic Disease

If you suspect that you have a zoonotic disease, it’s essential to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and prevention can help you get over your disease quicker with the least amount of symptoms. With that said, certain groups of people are at a higher risk of getting zoonotic diseases. High-risk individuals include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Adults aged 65 or older
  • Children five years old or younger
  • Individuals who are going through chemotherapy
  • Individuals with HIV
  • Others with weakened immune systems

It is often difficult to determine the seriousness of the disease on your own. That is why UAB Medical West is here to answer your questions and provide you with guidance. 


UAB Medical West Cares About Your Safety

If you suspect that you have a zoonotic disease, it’s essential to act quickly and contact your health providers. UAB Medical West medical personal is committed to keeping you and your family safe, so don’t hesitate to give us a call or schedule an appointment today with any questions you might have. Serving Hueytown, Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance.