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Zoonotic Diseases

July 6 was World Zoonoses Day, so we decided to make that our bulletin board focus of the month. A zoonotic disease is any disease that can be transferred between humans and animals. Everyone always thinks of rabies as the immediate choice when talking about a disease that humans can get from dogs and cats, but there are actually many diseases that can be spread to us from our pets. Keep reading for a quick overview of six of these diseases that we chose to highlight.


Rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals. The only ways people (and other animals) can get rabies is if they are bit by an infected animal or an infected animal licked an already existing wound. The most common carriers of rabies in Michigan are bats and skunks. Dogs and cats are infected if they are bitten by or eat one of those carrier animals.

When people are infected, symptoms are usually similar to the flu. However, they then worsen to neurological problems and abnormal behaviors, and once an infection gets to the point of having visible clinical signs, it's almost always fatal.

BUT, there are many ways to prevent against rabies. The most obvious one is to vaccinate your pets - even indoor cats have the potential to be exposed to rabies if a bat were to somehow get into your house! Another thing to remember is to leave wildlife alone, especially if they're acting strangely. There are pre-exposure vaccines available for people in risky situations (like vets!), and there is post-exposure treatment available that is 100% effective in preventing the disease from progressing to the point of clinical signs.


Cat Scratch Disease




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