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Zoonosis & Human Health

  • Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a dermatophyte (skin 'loving') fungus of which there are several different species. The fungi that cause ringworm in horses include the Microsporum and Trichophyton species, that can infect not only horses but other animal species, including humans.

  • Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites observed in cats. Almost all cats will become infected with roundworms at some point in their life, most often as kittens. Roundworms are not particularly harmful to adult cats, but large numbers may cause life-threatening problems in kittens and debilitated older cats. Roundworms can also be transmitted to humans. Diagnostic testing, treatment, and preventive measures are explained in this handout.

  • Roundworms are the most common gastrointestinal worm found in dogs and can also be transmitted to people. They are of most concern to puppies when present in large numbers, causing stunted growth, a pot-bellied appearance, and recurrent diarrhea. Diagnostic testing, treatment, and preventive measures are explained in this handout.

  • Sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies, is caused by a parasitic mite that burrows just beneath the surface of the skin. The presence of the sarcoptic mite causes intense itching; an affected dog will constantly chew and scratch his skin. Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious to other dogs and humans.

  • H1N1 influenza virus emerged in pigs as a genetic sharing of DNA from both human and swine influenza viruses. It caused a deadly pandemic in 2009 and continues to be an important cause of illness today. Pets including cats and dogs can be infected from their owners and become ill. It is not yet thought to transfer from pets to humans. Because influenza viruses appear to be capable of swapping genes, there is potential for new variants of influenza viruses to be generated at any time leading to another pandemic of severe disease in humans and other animals. Good hygiene and exposure restriction should be taken immediately if there is any sign of influenza-like infection to restrict spread between humans and between humans and their pets or domestic animals.

  • Tapeworms are parasites that infect the gastrointestinal tract of cats, other animals, and humans. Several types of tapeworms are known to infect pets, but the most common species observed in cats is Dipylidium caninum, which is transmitted through fleas. Risk factors, clinical signs, treatment, and prevention are explained in this handout. Other, less common types of tapeworms that affect cats and humans are also covered.

  • Tapeworms are parasites that infect the gastrointestinal tract of dogs, other animals, and humans. Several types of tapeworms are known to infect pets, but the most common species observed in dogs is Dipylidium caninum, which is transmitted through fleas. Risk factors, clinical signs, treatment, and prevention are explained in this handout. Other, less common types of tapeworms that affect dogs and humans are also covered.

  • Tetanus is a bacterial disease that can affect most animals and humans. Horses are particularly susceptible because of their environment and tendency to suffer injuries.

  • Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their host and can in turn transmit diseases to your pets or even you. They are prolific breeders and their life cycles can extend through multiple seasons. Prompt removal or use of preventatives limit or prevent the spread of disease, or kill the ticks.

  • **This article has been specifically written for dog walkers and how they can reduce their exposure to COVID-19.** COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease in humans, initially discovered late in 2019. Although all coronaviruses are related, they are not all the same virus; SARS-CoV-2 cannot cause canine coronavirus infection, and vice versa. As a dog walker, it is important to limit direct contact with your clients. People can shed the virus without showing any symptoms of disease, so it is important to practice physical distancing even with clients who appear healthy. It is also important to limit your contact with potentially contaminated items in your clients’ homes, whether they are at home or not. The most important things you can do to minimize your risk of infection, and minimize the risk of transferring infection to your clients, is to be cautious when interacting with clients and when touching anything that could be contaminated. Communicate with your clients regularly during this pandemic. Having information about your clients’ health can help you avoid taking unnecessary risks. Finally, if you develop any signs of COVID-19, including cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, it is important that you stay home from work.