Parasitic Infections Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats, and their bites can cause itching and inflammation in humans and cats alike. Fleas may also serve as vectors for CSD and other zoonotic diseases. Flea-infested cats may become infected with tapeworms from fleas ingested while grooming.
While not common, people can also become infected with tapeworms by inadvertently ingesting fleas. Scabies , or infection by the mange mite Sarcoptes scabiei , is another zoonotic external parasite of the skin of cats.
While not as common as flea infestations, these mites can be passed from infected cats to people, where they burrow into the skin and cause itchy, raised lesions. Treatment in people usually involves the use of topical ointments to decrease itching, diligent treatment of infective pets, and careful cleaning of clothes and bedding. Certain feline intestinal parasites, including roundworms Toxocara and hookworms Ancylostoma , can also cause disease in people. Children are particularly at risk due to their higher likelihood of contact with soil that has been contaminated by cat feces.
Although most people infected with feline intestinal parasites do not show signs of illness, some people may get sick. Visceral larva migrans, a potentially serious disease that can affect various organs, results from consumption of Toxocara eggs for instance, when soiled fingers are placed in the mouth.
Toxocara larvae may then migrate to abdominal organs, including the liver, or to the central nervous system. Symptoms of visceral larva migrans may include fever, fatigue, coughing, wheezing, and abdominal pain. Ocular larva migrans is the term used for a condition in which Toxocara larvae migrate to the eye, causing visual disturbances, abnormal eye movements, or eye pain and discomfort. Cutaneous larva migrans, an itchy skin disease, is caused by contact with soil contaminated with Ancylostoma larvae. Proper hygiene, including washing hands before meals, cleaning soil from vegetables, and reducing exposure to cat feces can prevent infection.
Anti-parasite medications for kittens and annual fecal exams for adult cats can reduce environmental contamination and the risk of human infection. Fungal Infections Ringworm or dermatophytosis is not caused by a worm at all. Rather, it is a skin infection caused by a group of fungi. Infected cats most often come from environments housing large numbers of animals. In cats, ringworm usually appears as a dry, gray, scaly patch on the skin.
In humans, ringworm often appears as a round, red, itchy lesion with a ring of scale around the edge. Infected cats continuously drop fungal spores from their skin and fur. These spores, which remain capable of causing infection for many months, are difficult to eradicate from a household.
Children are particularly at risk of infection. Treatment involves the use of either topical antifungal ointments or oral antifungal medication, depending upon the severity and location of lesions.
To reduce environmental contamination, confine infected cats to one room until they are free of infection, then thoroughly clean and disinfect the household. Protozoal Infections Protozoans are single-celled organisms. The three most common protozoal diseases in cats and humans are cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, and toxoplasmosis.
Most diseases you can get from your cat can also come from eating undercooked meat, and most of them can be avoided with a little common sense. If you have an indoor-only cat, there's little need to worry. Most diseases you can get from your cat can also come from eating undercooked meat, and most of them can be avoided with a little common sense. Use hot water, and soak the litter box for several minutes. Pregnant women should take simple additional precautions around hand hygiene, avoiding cat litter trays, especially those not cleaned regularly, and avoiding eating uncooked garden produce where cats may have had access to the soil. In single- and multiple-person households, dog ownership Penicillin G, doxycycline, ceftriaxone Rocephin 7 ,
Cryptosporidiosis can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and dehydration in both cats and people. Rabies is easily preventable by vaccinating your dog. Rabies is a viral disease of mammals generally transmitted through the bite of an infected crazy-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth animal. Most rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year occur in woodland scamperers like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes, but domestic species accounted for 8 percent of all rabid animals reported in the United States in The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain followed by death.
The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper-salivation, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia.
The simple workaround? Keep your pet's rabies vaccination up to date. Caused by the Campylobacter bacterium, most cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry or meat, or from cross-contamination of other foods by these items. It is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States.
Pets can also become infected, and people can get sick from contact with the stool of an ill dog or cat. Most people recover quickly, but more severe infection can occur. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that your pet can get when it comes into contact with the bacteria in the environment drinking, swimming or walking through contaminated water or when exposed to infected animals.
In humans, it may produce no symptoms, or it may come with many, including high fever, headache, chills, aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea and rash. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis liver failure, respiratory distress and death.
We commonly hear about the bacteria known as Salmonella from outbreaks of contaminated food and eating raw eggs. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after infection. Reptiles such as lizards, snakes, and turtles are likely sources of this infection, as well as chicks and ducklings.
Dogs, cats, birds and horses may also carry it. Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoa that most often infects cats, but will also take up in other warm-blooded animals. Humans can get the nasty parasite from contact with cat feces, or by eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. Once ingested, T.
The infection may also be passed from an infected mother to her baby through the placenta, creating serious complications — which is why moms-to-be should be relieved from cat-box duty. What is the incidence of infections per year? Capnocytophaga infections are not nationally reportable, so there is no national estimate of the number of infections that occur every year. Additionally, Capnocytophaga can be easily diagnosed by routine microbiology laboratory tests, so many cases of the disease are likely diagnosed and treated by health care providers without ever being reported to CDC.
These are likely only the most severe cases or those in which diagnosis was complicated for some reason. However, these do not include the most recent cases that have been reported by the media. Many dogs and cats have Capnocytophaga in their mouths normal oral flora , and it does not cause them illness. Animals can be tested, but a negative result may not mean the animal will always be negative, and the same is true for a positive result. Although animals could be given medicine to kill the bacteria in the short term, they can still get the bacteria again through contact with other animals.
It is important that people with weakened immune systems take this into consideration when they are considering getting a new pet. However, it is still important to emphasize that most contact with dogs and cats does not result in a Capnocytophaga infection or any illness. The most serious signs and symptoms of Capnocytophaga infection are those of septic shock. Symptom onset typically begins 3 to 5 days after an animal bite or contact, including sepsis, organ failure and meningitis.
It is very important to identify and treat Capnocytophaga infections as quickly as possible because approximately three out of 10 people who get infected with severe Capnocytophaga die and infections can result in death within 24 to 72 hours of symptom onset. People who are asplenic or have weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for serious infections. Capnocytophaga infections are treated with antibiotics.