Deadly Diseases Spread From Dogs to Humans

by Naomi Millburn
    Rabid dogs often have trouble walking normally.

    Rabid dogs often have trouble walking normally.

    Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

    While the mere notion might seem outlandish and baffling to you, dogs are fully capable of spreading certain types of illnesses to human beings. Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted between different species. When people catch diseases from canines, the results can sometimes even be deadly.

    Rabies is a fatal virus. Canines can spread rabies to human beings via their saliva. If a dog with rabies bites a person, he can transmit the infection. Signs of rabies in dogs include fear, truculence, antsy behavior, lack of coordination, fever, seizures, feebleness, confusion, appetite loss and frothing of the mouth. Abrupt death is also a common indication of rabies. When people catch rabies, they frequently display initial flu-like symptoms, with headaches, fever and feebleness. As a little time passes, infected humans frequently develop symptoms such as sleeplessness, hallucinations and nervousness. Many also notice itchiness where they were bitten.

    If any unfamiliar dog ever bites you, get immediate veterinary care. Do so if you notice any symptoms of rabies, too. Rabies is an extremely dangerous disease. After individuals detect symptoms of the virus, it's usually deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 50,000 people pass away from rabies each year, says the ASPCA. As far as animals go, millions pass away each year due to rabies infection. Dogs are far from the only animals that can spread rabies to humans. It appears in mammals in general, from raccoons to cats.

    While rabies is frequently fatal to humans, many other diseases that dogs can spread aren't usually quite as severe. Leptospirosis, for one, describes a bacterial infection that dogs can transmit to people. People can catch leptospirosis through exposure to the urine of dogs with the disease. If people place their hands on their mouths after touching urine that carries the disease, they can catch it. Leptospirosis usually isn't life-threatening to people, according to the experts at the Higgins Animal Clinic. It can, however, introduce major illness to humans. When dogs are infected with leptospirosis, they commonly exhibit symptoms such as dehydration, extreme feebleness, depression, throwing up, exhaustion, fever, appetite loss, diarrhea and stomach pain.

    Humans can catch a salmonella bacterial infection from their canines. When people have salmonella, they often exhibit symptoms including throwing up, diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and dehydration. Not all people with the infection necessarily display symptoms, however. In healthy individuals, salmonellosis generally isn't deadly. Fewer than 1 percent of individuals who get the infection pass away from it, indicates the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    Dogs can transmit a variety of diseases to people, although many aren't deadly. Scabies is one such example of a zoonotic disease. When it comes to protecting yourself and your family from catching zoonotic diseases, deadly or otherwise, preventative measures are key. Thorough hand washing after touching animals is smart, especially prior to making meals. Make sure that your pet is always updated on his necessary vaccines, too. Regularly veterinary checkups are key. Keep your pet safe against catching rabies by putting a leash on him while he enjoys his outdoor walks. Carefully monitoring all of his outside activities can also keep him safe.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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