Zoonotics: Diseases you could pick up from your pet

Young boy hugging his pet dog

Sheila had two miscarriages. On having a complete medical check-up she was told that the miscarriages had occurred because of Toxoplasmosis, a disease she had picked up from her pet cat’s faeces.

10-year-old Vikas was always complaining about bodyache, breathlessness and weakness. A medical check-up showed that he had Psittacosis, also commonly known as ‘parrot fever’, which he had caught from his pet parrot.

Prakash got rabies after being bitten by his dog, which had earlier got into a fight with a rabid stray dog. Prakash was hospitalised, but passed away a few days later.

For many people (myself included), pets are more than just pets, they are a part of the family. But just like other members of your family, pets can also infect us with germs.

Yes, we should all love our pet dog, cat, parrot, rabbit or whatever, but we also need to remember that our pets can also make us sick. We need to be enlightened to this fact, so that we can take the right precautions and ensure that our pets as well ourselves stay healthy.

Rabies: The WHO tells us that out of 59,000 rabies deaths worldwide, approximately 50% are from India. Rabies is a killer disease that has no cure.

If you have a pet dog, ensure that it gets its anti-rabies vaccine shots on time, and keep it away from stray animals. Rabies is also called ‘hydrophobia’ because the affected animal develops a fear of water.

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Noel Keymer
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Noel Keymer

Noel Keymer is an ex-RJ AIR & 93.5 RED FM, who now lectures on Radio & Communication to post-graduates at leading colleges. He is also a freelance writer and author who has written and published four books; the latest, an e-book Dal Bhat for the Indian Soul.