Owning a dog is proven to be really good for you… lowering your blood pressure, encouraging exercise and even reducing depression. But there’s a downside too. There are some diseases that we can catch from our pets, and some of them are serious.

Diseases you can get from your Morkie

The Center for Disease Control says that the most common diseases you can get from your Morkie are:

  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Dog Tapeworm
  • Hookworm
  • Rabies
  • Roundworm
  • Brucellosis

These diseases aren’t that common, and you can’t always blame the dog.  You can get Campylobacteriosis for example, by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or having contact with infected animals.

Campylobacteriosis

This one is fairly common, but can be caused by bad food, bad water or an infected pet or another animal.  Cross-contamination of foods, eating raw chicken or not washing your hands well are other causes of Campylobacteriosis – which is a leading cause of diarrhea. 

 

Read more at the CDC

Campy – what???

Break this word into three parts for easier pronunciation – Campy-lo-bacteriosis

Here’s how from YouTube:

Dog Tapeworm

Again stay away from the raw meats if you don’t want to end up with tapeworms. (We’re looking at you, steak tartare). To get tapeworm from your dog or cat, you’d have to swallow an infected flea.

 


Read more at the CDC

Hookworm

Keep your shoes on and you’ll be safer from hookworm.

These intestinal parasites are more common in dogs and cats, especially puppies. They’re spread from poop and infected soil, so walking barefoot is a no-no. A child might accidentally eat the worm eggs (we don’t even want to know how!)  Hookworm can cause itchy, painful skin or a queasy stomach.

By the way, puppies not treated properly for tapeworm can die.

 

Read more at the CDC

More worms you COULD get from your Morkie

Roundworm

This one is more serious: roundworm can cause a disease known as toxocariasis, which takes two forms:

  1. Ocular toxocariasis – which can result in vision loss, eye inflammation or damage to the retina when the creature invades the infected person’s eye. Typically, only one eye is affected.
  2. Visceral toxocariasis: this results when Toxocara larvae migrate to various body organs, such as the liver or central nervous system.

Roundworm larvae are fairly common in puppies. This is another reason to ensure your puppy is wormed at the Vet’s and for doubling up on handwashing.

Read more at the CDC

Ringworm

OK, we have to admit: Ringworm is not a worm, it is a contagious fungal infection.

Ringworm shows up as a ring-shaped rash on the skin or a bald patch on the scalp. It passes easily from pets to people, and from people to people, who can get it from direct contact with an infected animal.

Read more at WebMD

Read more at the CDC

Rabies

Rabies has been all but eradicated in the western world, but it is still found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. In other countries, however, dogs still carry rabies.

A virus, rabies is spread by saliva from the infected animal so is spread by a bite. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, heads to the brain and eventually causes death. By the time the symptoms have appeared it is often too late to treat the victim.

Vaccinations for rabies keeps the disease in check. Unfortunately, we tend to over-vaccinate our pets and this includes annual or bi-annual rabies shots when one vaccination at the beginning of your dog’s life is usually sufficient to prevent rabies.

 

And two more – Lyme Disease and Leptospirosis

According to the CDC, it is highly unlikely you’d get either of these diseases from your pet.

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners.

However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of natural tick control products for animals. You can read more about this in my book Ticks on Dogs: Small Dog Nightmare.

 

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that your pet COULD get from drinking water contaminated by infected wild animals, mostly rodents. In humans, it may produce no symptoms, or it may come with many, including high fever, headache, chills, aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash.

To catch Lepto directly from your dog, he would have to be infected, then you would have to have direct contact with urine through broken skin. You CANNOT get the Lepto virus through saliva.

Because there are so many strains of Leptospirosis, and vaccines have proven ineffective, most dog owners are not vaccinating their dogs – and especially not small dogs.

Three sensible ways to control diseases you can get from your dog

 

 

 

1. Hygiene

  • good hand washing goes a long way in deterring these zoonoses
  • keep your dog clean as well – regular bathing and combing helps and it also lets you check on the condition of his skin and coat, often leading indicators of illness in dogs
  • clean up dog poop and urine right away
  • wash your dog’s bedding regularly
  • keep water and food dishes clean, and separate for each pet

 

2. Common sense

  • get your pets wormed regularly and consider heartworm medication
  • make sure they have veterinarian check-ups at least annually
  • feed your dog a quality diet
  • infants, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system, should be extra vigilant about exposing themselves to dangers

 

3. Watch your dog

  • keep an eye on your dog:  don’t allow him to eat garbage, dead animals or birds or hang out at bird feeders (birds can a number of zoonoses)
  • beware of pet food recalls – especially pet snacks like jerky treats. They are often recalled because of salmonella dangers (visit DogFoodAdvisor.com for regular updates)
  • don’t let your dog eat poop or drink out of the toilet (which would be quite a feat for a Morkie!)

 

Read more

You can read about all 14 possible diseases and infections you can get from your pets (zoonoses) here at MotherNatureNetwork.com  for more details.


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