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  • 5 Diseases you could Get from your Pet

    Can pets make your family sick? You’ll be surprised by the diseases you can get from these lovable creatures.
    by Mimi Tiu .
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    Rabies
    This deadly viral illness is commonly transferred through animal bites - or scratches - from infected mammals such as dogs, cats, and rodents. Joseph John Palarca, M.D., an online veterinary consultant and co-producer of MyPetChannel.TV, explains how the virus affects its victims. “It attacks the central nervous system - striking the brain and nerves. Depending on the bite site and the distance to the central nervous system, rabies can cause fatal consequences within days.”

    Symptoms: After being bitten by an animal with rabies, a person may have fever, headaches, violent seizures, excessive salivation, and hydrophobia (a refusal to swallow or drink). Take note that while some rabies victims become violent and aggressive, others become reserved and depressed.

    Treatment: Wash the wounds and scratches thoroughly with soap and water, then rush the person to a medical doctor for stitches and proper vaccination. Contact the nearest animal bite center for a post-exposure treatment (call 816-1111 or visit www.animalbitecenter.ph for a list of participating clinics and hospitals in the Philippines), and monitor the suspected animal for two weeks for signs of the disease.

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    Prevention: When it comes to rabies as well as the cat-scratch disease (an illness transmitted primarily through scratches from infected cats), prevention is better than treatment. Bring your pets to the vet regularly (monthly to quarterly checkups would be ideal), and make sure their shots are up-to-date. Don’t allow pets to lick your child’s face, and instruct your children not to touch their pet’s urine or feces as precautionary measures. According to the Department of Health National Rabies Prevention and Control Program, majority of rabies cases occur during the summer because children play outdoors, so make sure you educate your kids about what to do when they spot a stray animal and discuss safe areas where they can play.


    Leptospirosis
    A bacterial disease transmitted by infected animals, primarily rats, through their urine. The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes, especially if the skin has a cut or scratch. Commonly spread during the rainy season, it can affect both humans and their pets when they come into contact with the infected creatures, their urine, or the infected soil or water. It can also be spread from person to person.

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    Symptoms: People suffering from leptospirosis experience flu-like symptoms with headaches, muscle pains, and fever. If left untreated, it can cause jaundice (a characteristic yellowing of the eyes and skin) or “develop into a more severe, life-threatening illness with infections in the kidney, liver, brain, lung, and heart,” says Dr. Sy.

    Treatment: This disease is only treatable with antibiotics. There are no known human vaccines, and only a few strains of animal vaccines. Dr. Yao highly recommends washing up after access to flood water, cleaning wounds thoroughly, and consulting your physician in case of exposure to the bacteria.

    Prevention: Make sure your dogs have updated leptospirosis vaccinations, and address the presence of rats and rodents in your household. Dr. Palarca advises, “Make sure cracks, holes, and other entrances into the house are blocked to prevent contact with pets inside. Trash cans kept outside should be properly covered.”

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