10 Diseases Your Pets Could Give You

We all love getting up close and personal with our pets. Nothing beats an evening cuddle and many of us let our cats and dogs sleep on our beds. Whilst this is absolutely fine and having a bond with your animal is very important, it should be remembered that your pets can carry diseases which could be spread to you.

Cat Scratch Disease

If you are a cat or kitten owner, we know that their somewhat small claws can inflict serious damage if they are distressed or frightened. Cat scratch disease, known as CSD, is relatively common in the UK and is transmitted through a cat bite or scratch.

Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, fatigue and loss of appetite. You will need to visit a doctor if your illness continues. If you are injured by a cat or kitten, wash the wound out immediately and seek medical advice if you feel at all unwell.

Lyme Disease

Although humans can get Lyme disease without transmission from a pet, those with cats and dogs are at a higher risk. The disease is cause by ticks which land on the skin of your pet, which can be transferred over to you. If you find yourself suffering from a bulls-eye style rash, fever, headache, or muscle and joint pain, check your body for ticks immediately. They like places which are moist and warm best. If you can, remove the tick using tweezers and seek medical help immediately. Get a member of the family to cautiously check your pets too.


If you own parrots, cockatiels, macaws, or parakeets, this one is for you. These birds tend to be the common carries of this disease and it is transmitted to humans through the inhalation of dried secretions of affected birds.

Those who are made ill by psittacosis will often experience muscle aches, a dry cough, headaches, fever, and the chills.

If you own any of these birds, there are a number of ways you can diminish the risk of psittacosis:

  • Ensure your birds have a suitable diet
  • Do not stack cages
  • Avoid overcrowding
  • Provide adequate ventilation
  • Clean the cages daily


Commonly known to be spread through food, many are not aware that the bacterial disease can be spread to humans through their pets. The bacterium, salmonella, can live in the intestinal tract of many different pets.

Animals that carry the virus tend to spread it to humans through faeces attaching itself to their fur, feather, or scales. It does not need to be obvious to the human eye and can result in stomach pain, a fever and diarrhoea. To avoid salmonella, you should always wash your hands after contact with your pet.

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus

Popular household rodents such as mice, hamsters and guinea pigs carry this viral disease. Shortened to LCMV, the infection manifests in flu like symptoms, including a stiff neck, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

It is transmitted to humans through urine, droppings or saliva. Owners of mice, hamsters or guinea pigs should avoid kissing their pets or having them close to their face. Their cages should be kept clean and it is best to wash your hands after handling.

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