We love our pooches and pups and felines and other pets, and want to be around them as much as possible. Those lovable creatures are more than just animals—they’re a part of the family. Yet just as a young child can pass on diseases to adults, or when one person in the family is sick and the rest soon follow suit, the same can take place with our pets.

The medical team at Galaxy Diagnostics can help you find out if you or your animal has an infectious disease. Our team specializes in diagnosing illnesses and bloodborne pathogens that can often be challenging to find in regular medical facilities and settings. We are one of the few medical testing centers that offer blood work tests for Bartonella, as well as Borrelia testing and more—for both you and your animal. Learn about some key ways to protect yourself from contracting these bloodborne illnesses from your pet, and contact Galaxy Diagnostics to get started.

How are animal diseases transmitted to humans?

There are a number of ways that bacteria and disease can be transferred to humans from man’s best friend. Sometimes it might be from an animal who presents with illness or disease, but this is not always the case. We know that Fluffy or Simba would never mean to get us sick, yet it can still happen—and as a pet owner, you are at risk. Take a look at some of the ways humans can contract diseases from animals:

Scratches

The Bartonella bacteria causes several diseases in humans, and often is transmitted through getting scratched—particularly from cats. As the CDC states, “Cats can harbor infected fleas that carry Bartonella bacteria. These bacteria can be transmitted from a cat to a person during a scratch.” This can lead to cat scratch disease (CSD), Carrión’s disease, or trench fever.

Fleas

This tiny, nearly microscopic insect is a parasite that feeds on the blood of mammals, and has caused insane destruction throughout history. For example, the bubonic plague (which many experts estimate halved the population of Europe in medieval times) was spread from the fleas that lived on rats and traveled across continents as trade and exploration increased. Fleas on animals can spread disease to humans, and this is still an occurrence in modern times as well.

Bites

When an animal with a disease bites a human, this can infect humans as a result. One of the most common examples of this is with rabies. In today’s medical world, a bite from a rabid animal can be treated safely when diagnosed early on.

Feces

It probably comes as no surprise that fecal matter—from any animal—can transmit disease to humans. E. coli is a bacteria that can be found in feces, and can end up being transferred to people when proper sanitation measures are not taken. In rare cases, inhaling dust that’s been contaminated from certain droppings—like that of deer mice—can cause more serious viruses.

How can I stay healthy?

With each of these examples of how disease can be contracted from animals, it’s vital to know ways to stay safe. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which you can protect yourself from diseases that can be passed on from animals.

Wash your hands.

Although it might seem like it should go without saying, we often forget or overlook the importance of washing our hands after each time we interact with animals. And after a solid snuggling session with our perfect pets, who can blame us for not wanting to rush to the soap at the sink?

At the very least, commit to washing your hands before cooking, eating, drinking, or touching your face. There’s a reason the same advice exists for interacting with humans—washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease.

Regularly take your pet to the groomer.

If your cat has got some claws and knows how to use them, there’s a chance you could get Bartonellosis through getting scratched. This is less of a concern if your cat has been declawed, but a trip to the groomer is still in order to treat against fleas and other parasites. Trimmed claws and groomed cats are a great way to keep the threat of CSD and other diseases at bay.

Get your pet to the vet.

Routine, annual checkups are a necessary part of being a pet owner, and can help be proactive in preventing disease—for humans and pets alike. Veterinarians can not only spot illnesses or potential issues, but prescribe preventative treatments—such as topical ointments to treat against fleas or ticks.

Work with Galaxy Diagnostics.

As much as we can try to prevent illness and disease—for both us and our pets—things can still happen. When something comes up, or when you or your pet are showing symptoms of being afflicted by Bartonellosis, Borrelia, or other bloodborne pathogens, you can rely on Galaxy Diagnostics to provide you with the testing you need. We offer testing kits that can be delivered quickly and results that can come back fast, to help you get the answers you deserve.

Our mastiffs and mutts, our siamese cats and short-hair calicos—they are such an important part of our lives. We want our pets to be healthy so that they can enjoy their lives, but our lives are also improved when everyone at home is alive and well. Stay safe with your pet, and order a kit through Galaxy Diagnosis for blood work and Bartonella testing today!