Simple steps for avoiding infections from dogs and cats
POSTED APRIL 06, 2012, 7:22 AM
Lloyd Resnick, Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
Here are a few precautions to take:
Make sure your pet gets an annual veterinary physical
If your pet develops diarrhea, treat it promptly.
Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning up dog or cat feces and after gardening or exposure to soil that may harbor canine or feline fecal matter.
If you’re pregnant, have someone else clean out Felix’s litter box.
Freeloading fleas and ticks
The fleas and ticks that get a free ride and feed on domestic dogs and cats can also feed on humans, though they prefer hairier mammals. During feeding, those insects can transmit the germs that cause Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis (characterized by fever and headache), the malaria-like infection known as babesiosis, and even plague, most human cases of which occur in the Southwest U.S.
Follow these tips to stay insect free:
Use a veterinary-recommended flea- and tick-prevention product on your pet.
Check your pets for fleas and ticks regularly, even if they are on a preventive.
If your home is flea-infested, treat the indoor environment as well as the pet.
If you find a tick on your pet or yourself, remove it promptly and wash your hands afterward.