Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. It is only transmitted by a bite from a rabid animal. If you are bitten by any animal—even a household pet—and especially if the bite is from a wild animal, such as a bat, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. According to the law, dogs that bite humans should be quarantined for 10 days. Vaccinating dogs against rabies protects them and provides a "buffer zone" between humans and rabid wild animals.Oregon law requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies as early as three months of age: unvaccinated pets that may have been in contact with rabid animals (such as bats) must be quarantined for six months or euthanized. There are an estimated 5 million dog bite incidents per year; of those, approximately10.000 require hospitalization and about 20 people, mostly young children, die.Rabies vaccination and proper dog socialization can reduce these numbers. Dogs that are well-socialized and supervised are much less likely to bite.


Cryptosporidiosis is an infection of the gastrointestinalsystem caused by the parasite Cryptosporidinin parvion. Symptoms include waterydiarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Many infected individuals require hospitalization and IV fluid therapy. Infection inimmuno-suppressed individuals such as the very young, the elderly or those with HIV/AIDS may be life threatening. Cryptosporidiosis has been found in people,cats and dogs living in the same environment suggesting the potential forzoonotic transfer between species exist. Most people get cryptosporidiosis fromcontaminated water, but be cautious with pet waste. If you develop thesesymptoms, contact your physician. Be sure to inform him or her of your pet andwhether it is also ill. If your dog has diarrhea, take it to your veterinarian for an examination.


is the raccoon roundworm. People can be exposed to thisparasite in raccoon feces. Prevention is not to feed wildlife and do not keep raccoons as pets. Thisdisease usually manifests initially as unexplained neurological symptoms. Thisdisease can be fatal in humans.


are common intestinal parasites of dogs and cats. Eggs arepassed in the feces of dogs and cats; develop into larvae in the soil, thenchew through the skin of their next host (victim). Both humans and animals canbe affected. Prevention includes multiple deworming of all young animals,on-going parasite control in adults, yearly fecal exams and daily removal offeces from the yard.


are common intestinal parasites of dogs and cats.Transmission to people is by accidentally getting feces in their mouth (smallchildren most at risk.) Prevention includes multiple deworming of all young animals, on-going parasite control in adults, yearly fecal exams and timelyremoval of feces from the house/yard. Teach children good sanitary habits, i.e.wash hands after playing with pet or playing outside.


are common intestinal parasites of dogs and cats. Dogs andcats contract them from fleas.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread through the urine of infected animals. In people, the symptoms are often flu-like. The riskof getting leptospirosis through common contact with a dog is low: the primarymode of transmission is through contact with contaminated animal urine.Symptoms in dogs include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, refusal toeat, severe weakness and depression, renal disease and liver dysfunction. Riskfactors for dogs include contaminated water and contact with cattle, rats orraccoon urine. Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics. To help preventleptospirosis, vaccinate your dog and keep rodents under control. Note,however, that the vaccine does not provide 100% protection due to the manystrains of the bacteria.


Giardiasis is the most frequent cause of nonbacterialdiarrhea in North America and the most commonly diagnosed intestinal parasite inhumans in Oregon, with 600 to 800 cases reported each year. It is transmittedmost frequently through contaminated water. The most common sign of giardiasisin dogs is diarrhea, which can be acute, chronic, or intermittent. If your doghas diarrhea, take it to your veterinarian for an examination.

Avian Influenza (H5N1)

While the highly-pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenzahas yet to be discovered in the US. it is expected to be found here in thefuture. In central Thailand, where the H5N 1 strain has been found, dogs havetested positive for its antibodies, suggesting infection in dogs is likely.Keeping pets inside when possible and keeping an eye on what they might beconsuming outside is their best protection.

Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial disease caused byBartonella henselae. Approximately 90% of CSD patients have a history of catcontact. Symptoms include: swollen lymph nodes, especially those around thehead, neck, and upper limbs; fever; headache; fatigue; and a poor appetite.Kittens are more likely to be infected and to pass the bacterium to people.About 40% of cats carry the bacteria at some point in their lives although theydo not show any signs of the illness, so you cannot tell which cats may spreadthe disease. To prevent CSD, avoid "rough play" with cats, especiallykittens; this includes any activity that may lead to cat scratches and bites.Wash cat bites and scratches immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. Donot allow cats to lick open wounds. Contact your physician right away if youdevelop pronounced swelling and an infection with pus where you were scratchedor bitten by a cat.


Ringworm is not a worm, but a fungal disease that can infecta cat's hair, nails, or skin. Ringworm usually makes a bald patch of scaly skinor a ring-shaped rash that is reddish and may be itchy. Cats, especially youngcats, can harbor the fungus without any noticeable clinical signs, sopreventative care by your veterinarian is important. When diagnosed, ringwormshould be treated because the fungus can be transmitted to humans by directcontact with an infected animal's skin, hair, bedding or other items.


is a mite. Contact with an affected animal may allow mitesto crawl onto people or another pet. Minimal handling of affected pets untilsuccessfully treated is the prevention.


Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common small animalzoonoses. Approximately 30 to 40% of the adults in the world have been infectedat some point. Human’s contract toxoplasmosis from exposure to cat fecescontaminated with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii; however, transmission is onlypossible during two of the parasite's life stages. The parasites are notinfectious when passed by cats in their feces. Most cats are fastidious aboutcleaning and do not leave feces on their fur; therefore, common contact with acat is not a risk factor. Most people who get toxoplasmosis do not get sick,but some people will get swollen glands, muscle aches, and feel as though theyhave the "flu." This zoonosis is of concern to pregnant women as itcan cause birth defects or miscarriage. If you are pregnant or plan to becomepregnant, have another person clean out the litter box every day and try tokeep your cats indoors. Wash your hands thoroughly with running water and soapafter contact with cat feces and after gardening, as the parasite can bedeposited in the soil by infected cats. Even when not pregnant, clean litterboxes daily. Avoid undercooked meat. as it can harbor the parasite also and donot feed undercooked meat to your cat.

spacer-green.gifPet-Scription for High Risk Individuals

A person's age and health status may affect his or herimmune system, increasing the chances of getting sick. These people include:

  • Infants and children less than 5 years old.
  • Elderly.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People undergoing treatments for cancer.
  • People who have received organ transplants.
  • People with HIV/AIDS.

Different types of animals can carry different diseases.Some animals may be more likely than others to carry diseases that make peoplesick. If you fit into one of the groups of people outlined above, you shouldavoid contact with the following:

  • Reptiles (turtles, lizards, and snakes).
  • Baby chicks and ducklings.
  • Puppies and kittens less than 6 months old.
  • Pets with diarrhea.

Additionally, if you are at higher risk of diseases fromanimals, you should be extra cautious around farm animals, including those atpetting zoos and petting farms.

To prevent illness due to animal contact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following for all people, but especially for those at greatest risk of getting sick from pets:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water after contact with animals and their feces.
  • Avoid rough play with cats and dogs to prevent scratches and bites.
  • If you are at higher risk of getting sick from animals, you should avoid contact with reptiles, baby chicks, ducklings, puppies and kittens. You should also be extra cautious around young calves and other animals