Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - 16

Section I

rISKS WIth SMaLL aNIMaLS

O

wning and working with small animals can be very rewarding, but
health risks are also involved. These risks are real, and everyone
should take precautions against those risks.

Zoonoses
Zoonoses (or zoonotic) are diseases that can be transmitted from animals
to humans. Rabies is an example of a zoonosis that has been around for a
long time. Ancient Greeks recognized that rabies can be transmitted by dog
bites. The bubonic plague of the 1400s was caused by bacteria transmitted to
humans by fleas carried by infected rats.
Roundworms known as ascarids (Toxocara species) and the hookworms
(Ancylostoma species and Uncinaria stenocephala) are common parasitic
worms of dogs and cats. The larval stage of these parasites can infect humans.
A parasite is an organism that lives on or within another host organism and
derives its sustenance (food or nourishment) from the host. Children are
most at risk because they play in the soil where these animals have been.
The parasites are transmitted to humans through contact with soil or other
surfaces contaminated by the feces of infected animals. Play areas and sandboxes should be kept clean or covered and free of feces. To prevent becoming
infected, it is important to wash your hands after handling animals or their
feces. Symptoms of roundworms in humans are fever, headache, cough,
and poor appetite. Hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin and leave an
inflamed tract as they travel under the skin. See Figure 2-1.
Toxoplasmosis is a disease produced by infection with Toxoplasma
gondii, a parasite that can be carried by several different animal species.
People can become infected by eating undercooked, contaminated meat,
accidental ingestion of undercooked, contaminated meat after handling
it and not washing hands thoroughly then touching their mouths, and
eating food that has become contaminated by knives, utensils, cutting
boards, or other foods that had contact with raw, contaminated meat.

© Carsten Medom Madsen/Shutterstock.com

16

Figure 2-1 Common roundworms of dogs, Toxicana

canis, can be transmitted to humans. Transmission is
usually through contact with feces or contaminated soil.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition

Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover1
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover2
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - viii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - ix
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