Pet Doc with Nikki Burdine: Can you get sick from your pet?

Weekend Extra

We’re talking about your health, can you get sick from your pet?

Dr. Staci Cannon, Medical Director of Metro Animal Care and Control is with us, and she has some important health information for you. 

Nikki Burdine: Can we get sick from our pet, from our kitties?  

Dr. Cannon:  Sure, pretty rare, but absolutely there are some concerns from our animals, so diseases or parasites even that can be spread from animals to humans, we refer to them as zoonotic diseases.  So there are certain things we are always concerned about, and it’s definitely important to have our animals checked out by a veterinarian especially on an annual basis, 

Nikki: Talk about the people who live in the household, so they know the risks to watch out for, especially if you have children,

Dr. Cannon:  children the elderly or anyone who is immunocompromised who might be on something like chemotherapy. Those folks are a little bit more vulnerable to these types of infections. Most animals, if they are healthy, 

If they are seeing a veterinarian regularly, they are vaccinated, they are on monthly parasite prevention, they are not going to be a source of infection for people.  So, that is why it’s always recommended to have annual exams with your Vet. The things we worry about are things like intestinal parasites.  Especially from cats or dogs that have not seen a veterinarian.  

If they have not been dewormed properly, they can have things like roundworms or hookworms and those can actually infect people, especially children.  The reason being is children don’t always know to wash their hands after they have handled our pets. It’s important to talk to our kids, supervise them around their pets and make sure they are washing their hands, especially if they have handled any unknown animals as well. 

The other things we worry about are some bacterial infections you could get if your animal has diarrhea sometimes they can be shedding bacteria or if your animal has fleas, there are certain bacteria fleas can spread to people, 

That’s the cause of cat scratch fever if you will, it’s not from the cat it’s from the fleas, so if we keep our pets healthy and make sure they are on flea prevention, and they have been dewormed properly, that mitigates most of the risks of things we can get from our pets.   

Nikki:  Alright great advice, she agrees, didn’t mean to hit you with the mic, back to you.  
Let us know if you have a question for the Pet Doc.  Email us at or contact Nikki directly:

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