Can Kids Get Sick From Dogs, Cats or Other Pets?

baby sick

Taking care of animals is a terrific knowing experience for kids, teaching them obligation, gentleness, and respect for other living beings. Like grownups, kids can benefit from the friendship, affection, and relationships they share with their family pets.

Can My Baby Get Sick From Dog or Cat?

However animals and pets can spread out infections to human beings, particularly kids. So if you’re thinking about buying an animal, or already have one, it is necessary to know how to secure your household from infections.

Zoonotic health problems are diseases human beings can get from animals. Numerous infectious diseases can spread out from animals to people, and some of these can originate from your animal. But before you end up being too alarmed, understand that getting diseases from a pet is pretty unusual, and that you can prevent most of them with some really easy steps.

How Cuddles Spread Infections

Like individuals, all animals carry germs. Health problems typical amongst housepets – such as distemper, canine parvovirus, and heartworms– can’t spread to people.

However animals likewise carry certain bacteria, infections, parasites, and fungi that can cause health problem if sent to humans. People get these animal-borne illness when they’re bitten or scratched or have contact with an animal’s waste, saliva, or dander.

These illness can impact human beings in many methods. They’re of biggest issue to kids, infants, pregnant women, and people whose body immune systems have been jeopardized by disease or disease. Infants and kids below 5 years of ages are at risk because their immune systems are still establishing, and some infections that may make an adult simply slightly ill can be more severe for them.

Healthy Family, Healthy Family pets

But you don’t have to give up your family’s furry pals either. Pets can enrich your domesticity, and taking a couple of preventative measures can protect your kids from getting sick.

Safeguarding your household from pet-related infections starts before bringing a pet home. For instance, reptiles and amphibians need to not be permitted as pets in any household with infants and young children.

Likewise think about the health and age of your kids prior to getting a family pet. A family pet that would need regular handling is not recommended for any immunocompromised child (such as a child who has HIV, has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, or uses prednisone regularly). Kids with eczema ought to probably avoid fish tanks.

baby sick

Dogs and Cats

Dogs and felines are popular animals but can carry infections such as:

  • Campylobacter infection: can be spread out by home pets bring Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, which cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever in individuals. The bacteria might be in the intestinal tract of infected dogs, felines, hamsters, birds, and specific stock. An individual can become infected through contact with polluted water, feces, undercooked meat, or unpasteurized milk.More than 2 million cases of campylobacter infection take place each year in the United States, and C. jejuni is now the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis. These infections are contagious, especially amongst members of the exact same family and kids in child care or preschools. Infection is treated with antibiotics.
  • Cat scratch disease: can take place when a person is bitten or scratched by a feline infected with Bartonella henselae bacteria. Symptoms consist of swollen and tender lymph nodes, fever, headaches, and fatigue, which generally ease without treatment. Nevertheless, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the infection is severe. Cat scratch disease rarely causes long-lasting complications.
  • Rabies: a serious health problem brought on by an infection that gets in the body through a bite or wound contaminated by the saliva from an infected animal. Animals that might bring the rabies infection consist of dogs, felines, raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. Widespread immunization of dogs and cats has decreased the transmission of rabies in these animals and in people. Human rabies is uncommon in the United States, and a vaccine is offered for treatment following a bite from a potentially wild animal.
  • Rocky Mountain identified fever (RMSF): spread out by ticks infected by the Rickettsia ricketsii bacteria. These ticks are often carried by dogs. Symptoms consist of high fever, chills, muscle pains, and headaches, and a rash that may spread throughout the wrists, ankles, palms, soles, and trunk of the body. RMSF, which can be treated with antibiotics, is most typical in the south central and the mid-south Atlantic areas of the United States.
  • Ringworm: likewise called tinea; a skin infection brought on by a number of types of fungis found in the soil and on the skin of humans and animals. Kids can get ringworm from touching infected animals such as dogs and felines. Ringworm of the skin, or tinea corporis, generally is a dry, scaly round area with a raised red rough border and a clear center. When the scalp is affected, the area might be flaky, red, or swollen. Frequently there are bald spots. Ringworm is treated with antifungal medicines consisting of shampoo, cream, or oral medication.
  • Toxocariasis: a disease caused by the parasitic roundworm Toxocara, which lives in the intestinal tracts of dogs and felines. The eggs from the worms are passed in the feces of dogs and cats, typically contaminating soil where kids play. When a child consumes the polluted soil, the eggs hatch in the intestine and the larvae infect other organs, an infection known as visceral larva migrans. Symptoms include fever, cough or wheezing, enlarged liver, rash, or swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms may clean up on their own or a doctor might prescribe drugs to kill the larvae. When the larvae in the intestinal tract make their way through the bloodstream to the eye, it is referred to as ocular toxocariasis, or ocular larva migrans, which might lead to an irreversible loss of vision.
  • Toxoplasmosis: contracted after contact with a parasite discovered in cat feces. In a lot of healthy people, toxoplasma infection causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may consist of swollen glands, tiredness, muscle pain, fever, sore throat, and a rash. In pregnant women, toxoplasmosis can cause miscarriage, premature births, and severe illness and loss of sight in newborns. Pregnant women should avoid contact with litter boxes. Individuals whose body immune systems have been weakened by health problems such as HIV or cancer are at risk for severe complications from toxoplasmosis infection.
  • Dog and cat bites: might become infected and cause severe issues, particularly bites to the face and hands. Feline bites tend to be even worse, partially because they are much deeper leak injuries. Significant bites ought to be rinsed completely. Frequently these bite injuries need treatment in a doctor’s workplace or emergency clinic; antibiotics are sometimes essential.



Animal birds, even if they are kept in a cage, might send these illness:

  • Cryptococcosis: a fungal disease contracted when somebody breathes in organisms discovered in bird droppings, particularly from pigeons, that can cause pneumonia. Individuals with weakened immune systems from diseases such as HIV or cancer are at increased risk of contracting this disease and developing severe complications, such as meningitis.
  • Psittacosis: likewise called parrot fever, a bacterial health problem that can take place from contact with infected bird feces or with the dust that develops in birdcages. Symptoms consist of coughing, high fever, and headache. It is treated with antibiotics.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles (consisting of lizards, snakes, and turtles) and amphibians (consisting of frogs, toads, and salamanders) put kids at risk for:

  • Salmonellosis: Reptiles and amphibians shed Salmonella in their feces. Touching the reptile’s skin, cage, and other infected surface areas can result in infection. Salmonellosis causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Children are at risk for more major disease, including dehydration, meningitis, and sepsis (blood infection).

Other Animals

Handling and looking after rodents– including hamsters and gerbils– in addition to fish can put kids at risk for:

  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis infection (LCMV): People can get LCMV by inhaling particles that come from urine, feces, or saliva from infected rodents, such as mice and hamsters. LCMV infection can cause flu-like symptoms– fever, tiredness, headaches, muscle pains, nausea, and vomiting– and may even lead to meningitis (an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) and sleeping sickness (a swelling of the brain). As with the majority of infections, there is no particular treatment, but some patients may have to be hospitalized. Like toxoplasmosis, LCM may be passed from an infected pregnant lady to her fetus.
  • Mycobacterium marinum: This infection may occur in individuals exposed to polluted water in fish tanks or swimming pools. Although mycobacterium marinum infections are normally mild and limited to the skin, they can be more severe in people with HIV or weakened immune systems.

Precautions When Embracing or Buying a Pet

If you’re embracing or purchasing a pet, make sure the breeder, shelter, or store has an excellent reputation and immunizes all its animals. A credible breeder ought to belong to a national or local breeding club, such as the American Kennel Club. Contact the Humane Society of the United States or your veterinarian for details about animal shelters in your area.

As quickly as you select a household pet, take it to a local veterinarian for vaccinations and a physical examination. Remember to routinely vaccinate your family pet on a schedule suggested by your vet– this will keep your pet healthy and minimize the risk that infections will spread to your kids.

You’ll likewise wish to regularly feed your pet healthy animal food (ask your vet for ideas) and offer a lot of fresh water. Avoid feeding your animal raw meat since this can be a source of infection, and do not enable your animal to drink toilet water because infections can be spread through saliva, urine, and feces.

Limit young kids’ contact with outside pets that hunt and kill for food due to the fact that a family pet that consumes infected meat may get an infection that can be passed to people.

Safely Taking care of Your Pet

Here are some ideas to help your family safely look after animals:

  • Constantly wash your hands, particularly after touching your pet, managing your animal’s food, or cleaning your pet’s cage, tank, or litter box. Wear gloves when tidying up after an animal’s waste, and if you have a bird, use a dust mask over your nose and mouth when cleaning up the cage to avoid breathing in urine or fecal particles. Don’t have kids tidy cages or litter boxes unless there is guidance or up until they understand how to do this securely and responsibly (and once again, hands should be cleaned afterward).
  • Avoid kissing or touching your animal with your mouth since infections can spread out through saliva. Likewise, don’t share food with your pet.
  • Keep your animal’s living area tidy and devoid of waste. If your animal gets rid of waste outdoors, pick up waste frequently and do not permit kids to play because area.
  • Do not permit pets in areas where food is prepared or handled, and do not bathe your family pet or clean fish tanks in the kitchen sink or bathtub. Wash your family pet outdoors or talk with your vet about professional pet grooming.
  • Avoid weird animals or those that appear sick. Never adopt a wild animal as a pet.

Enjoy kids carefully around family pets. Small children are most likely to catch infections from pets due to the fact that they crawl around on the floor with the animals, kiss them or share food with them, or put their fingers in the pets’ mouths and after that put their filthy fingers in their own mouths. Also, if kids check out a petting zoo, farm, or a pal’s house where there are animals, make certain they understand the significance of hand cleaning.

For your family pet’s comfort and for your household’s safety, control flea and tick issues in your animal. Fleas and ticks can carry illness that might be easily passed to kids. Oral and topical medicines are readily available for flea and tick control; prevent using flea collars since kids can manage them and become ill from the chemicals they include. Inspect your family pet regularly for fleas and ticks, in addition to bites and scratches that might make them more open up to infection. Keep your family pet leashed when outdoors and keep it away from animals that look sick or may be unvaccinated.

And, finally, spay or sterilize your animal. Spaying and neutering may lower your animal’s contact with other animals that might be infected, specifically if your animal goes outdoors.

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