Serious diseases you can catch from your pets

Owning a pet can be ­seriously bad for your health.

One man had both legs amputated and needed facial ­reconstruction after catching a ­disease from a tiny dog bite.

Psychiatrist Jaco Nel, 52, from Chorlton, Manchester, was devastated with severe sepsis after his pet spaniel Harvey nipped his hand.

But it is not the only disease owners can get from their animals. Here are some of the most common.


Cat litter trays are the main source of toxoplasmosis. It is picked up from parasites in poo, caught after eating prey. It can cause flu-like ­symptoms in children and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are at most risk, as it can affect their ­unborn baby’s development.


Hookworm, tapeworm, roundworm and ringworm are the most infectious parasites you can catch from your ­beloved cats and dogs.

Most worms can be treated with drugs ­available from a GP or vet. Make sure you collect poo and properly ­dispose of it so eggs do not hatch.

Cat scratch disease

A small scratch or bite from your cat is enough to land you with this. Around 40per cent of cats carry the disease at some point in their lifetime.

Keep your cat’s nails trimmed, avoid rough play with kittens and do not let them lick any open wound on your skin. If you do become infected, you may need antibiotics.


Passed to humans from pet chickens or reptiles, it can lead to abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, headache and nausea. Dogs, cats, horses and other poultry can also carry the bacteria.

Dodge it by thoroughly washing your hands after handling your pets.


Dogs can become infected with this bacterial infection when they get up close to infected poo, food or water.

The ­bacteria is spread in the animal’s poo, which can then be passed on to humans. It causes fever, vomiting and swollen lymph nodes.

Always dispose of your pet’s poo hygienically and wash your hands.

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