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Everyone knows that pets carry bacteria and diseases, but not many people know that pets can actually spread those diseases to humans.
Most healthy people won't pick up any bacterial infections, but people with a weakened immune system, such as children, pregnant women and seniors, are more vulnerable to catching an infection from animals. But you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Dogs, cats, hamsters and turtles all make great pets, but they can also potentially transmit salmonella and c-diff. And that's not all …
Robert Hess Jr., a veterinary at Winter Park Veterinary Hospital says, "There are about 250 diseases that people can catch from animals."
One that is particularly dangerous …
Hess Jr. says, "Toxoplasmosis, which is a disease that women can get if they are pregnant and affect the embryo, comes from cats and cat stool."
The condition can cause blindness or mental disability in infected newborns later in life. Dr. Hess has precautions that people can take to reduce their risk of infections.
Hess Jr. says, "When they pet their dogs, don't let it lick them in the face."
Next, always wash your hands after handling your pet, their food and their treats. Also take your pet to the vet for regular checkups and to test for any diseases. Finally, be sure to tell your vet your health issues. People with compromised immune systems may be advised to give away their pets, but some vets may be able to give you further precautions to take so you can be allowed to keep your fury critter.
Humans can also transmit infections, such as c-diff or tuberculosis to their pets. And be careful when giving your pet raw meat or table scrapes.