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Saturday, March 2, 2024

5 diseases you can get from cats – some can be very dangerous

Cats are the most popular pet worldwide alongside dogs, and although they’re more skittish and finicky than dogs, they can still be your best friend. However, buying or adopting a pet is a huge responsibility and even a risk to your health.

Some pet diseases are just as dangerous for humans, and you don’t have to be the pet’s owner to get infected – you can just play with a friendly animal on the street or at someone’s home. It is therefore important to be aware of the risks you are putting yourself at.

A cat can carry a number of viruses that we can easily catch by just petting it. Even if the animal looks healthy, catching an undetected disease can have serious complications in humans, which is why prevention is important.

Here are the diseases you risk if you cuddle a (strange) cat!

1. Toxoplasmosis

This infection can develop through contact with pet feces, for example when cleaning litter trays of cats. Another cause not related to pets is the consumption of freshly cooked, roasted or raw meat.

The disease is usually asymptomatic, but the acute form can cause high fever, nausea, convulsions and swollen lymph nodes. The disease is very dangerous for expectant mothers. It can cause severe brain and nervous system damage to the fetus, induce miscarriage and even lead to the death of the baby after birth. In addition, the infant may develop congenital toxoplasmosis, jaundice or mental retardation.

2. Rabies

Rabies is one of the most dangerous and unpredictable diseases, occurring most often in wild animals or domesticated animals picked up from the streets. It is transmitted by blood and saliva (after biting).

Infection cannot be immediately identified: incubation period is 10 days. In case of rabies, humans usually start shaking and vomiting, during which time the spinal cord is severely damaged.

The best way to avoid the disease is vaccination immediately after the animal bite. Once the first symptoms of rabies appear, there is little chance of recovery.

5 diseases you can get from cats - some can be very dangerous
Image: Freepik

3. Salmonellosis

Acute bacterial infection causes a number of unpleasant symptoms, including chills, diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset. It is spread by contact with poorly processed food or pets. Salmonella has little or no response to antibiotics, so it takes time and effort to treat it.

4. Toxocariasis

The disease is most commonly spread through contact with domestic animals and children are at greater risk. A characteristic rash appears on the human body, the face swells and a fever develops.

The infection is caused by the larvae of the spindle worms. The more eggs ingested, the more severe the symptoms will be. The larvae hatch in the small intestine and enter the bloodstream, where they can colonize virtually any organ. They can even cause blindness if they come into contact with optical nerves. Diseases of the heart and respiratory system increase the risk of death.

5. Chlamydia

This bacterial infection can be picked up from pets. The disease is more dangerous for the cat than the owner, as in some cases it can lead to the death of the pet. In humans, it is mostly asymptomatic, occasionally causing unpleasant symptoms in the genital tract and urinary tract.

To protect yourself and your pet from the diseases listed above, take your cat to the vet regularly to get the necessary vaccinations and worming tablets.

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