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Category: CARE

Preventing Zoonotic diseases

Human-animal interactions enrich our lives. But, this can also pose risks to both humans and animals. One of these risks is the spread of disease between humans and animals. Fortunately, preventive measures and good hygiene are simple ways to reduce the risk of disease.

What are zoonotic diseases?

 

Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be spread between animals and people. They can be caused by pathogens (disease-causing organisms) such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Examples include rabies, Salmonella, just to name a few. At least 65 percent of recent major disease outbreaks have zoonotic origins, and 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. Emerging zoonosis can come from many animal species, including pets.

How are zoonotic diseases spread?

 

Zoonotic diseases can be spread in a number of ways. Some methods of transmission include:

Fecal-oral transmission occurs when people ingest small, usually invisible, amounts of stool or droppings containing a pathogen. It is often an unintentional exposure because the person does not realize, or forgets, that they came in contact with fecal material. This can occur when a person does not thoroughly wash his hands after handling infected animals or items from an animal’s environment.

Foodborne transmission occurs when people ingest food contaminated with a pathogen, or if a person handles contaminated pet food, uncooked meat or fomites and does not wash his/her hands before handling foods or drinks. Examples of pathogens that can be transmitted in this way include Salmonella, E. coli, etc…

Insect-borne transmission occurs when insects carry a pathogen from an infected animal or person and transfer it to another animal or person.

Direct contact occurs when a person becomes infected through touching or handling an infected animal or through a bite, scratch, or contact with the eyes, nose or mouth of an infected animal. Rabies, ringworm and are examples of zoonotic diseases spread through direct contact.

Indirect contact occurs when a pathogen is transmitted without physical contact with the animal. Many pathogens can survive outside a person or animal for a period of time. Some pathogens can survive well in water and soil, or on inanimate objects, also known as fomites. These items can transfer pathogens such as Salmonella, Leptospira and fecal parasites from place to place, animal to animal and from animals to people.

What zoonotic diseases can I get from pets and other domestic animals?

 

This list doesn’t include every disease you can get from pets and other domestic animals, but below are some examples:

  • coli infection (caused by the E. coli bacteria)
  • Leptospirosis (caused by Leptospira bacteria)
  • Rabies (caused by the rabies virus)
  • Ringworm (caused by certain fungi)
  • Salmonellosis (caused by the Salmonella bacteria)
  • Toxoplasmosis (caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii)
  • Toxocariasis (caused by Toxocara parasites – also called roundworms)

Are certain people at higher risk of being infected with zoonotic diseases?

 

Children are at higher risk of infection because they are less likely to thoroughly wash their hands immediately after handling animals; they might not have fully developed immune function; and they are more likely to put their hands and other objects in their mouths.

Young children, pregnant women, older people, and anyone with certain health conditions such as chronic respiratory disease, heart disease or a weakened immune system should be extra careful when interacting with animals because these conditions make them more likely to become severely ill if infected.

Examples of conditions that cause a weaker immune system include HIV/AIDS, autoimmune diseases, and people undergoing treatment with chemotherapy, steroids or other immune-suppressing medications. People who are around animals often are also more likely to be exposed to a zoonotic pathogen. If you fall into any of these groups, take extra precautions to protect yourself.

How can I reduce the risk to my family?

 

Sometimes animals carrying a zoonotic disease appear perfectly healthy. It is important to practice these habits with all animals, even if they do not appear to be sick.

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water:
  • After petting or handling any animal
  • After you’ve cleaned up after your pet or livestock or handled their bedding
  • After handling uncooked food for you or your pet After handling any pet or animal food
  • Before preparing food or drinks for yourself or others and before eating or drinking

Make sure children wash their hands after touching an animal, whether at a petting zoo, fair, pond, beach, backyard, or any other place that they get to interact with animals. Children should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth until after they’ve thoroughly washed their hands. To help prevent illness and injury, keep children under 5 years of age away from areas where pets are fed.

Make sure children stay away from wildlife, and that they do not pet unknown dogs or cats without the owner’s permission.

Keep your pet healthy.

 

Make sure your pet receives regular preventive veterinary care including vaccinations (talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate vaccinations for your pet) and flea, tick and intestinal parasite preventives.

  • Vaccinate your pets (including indoor cats!) against rabies.
  • Clean up after your pets
  • Discard pet waste in a tightly sealed, impermeable bag. Small biodegradable or plastic bags work well.
  • Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites, so young children should not clean up after pets.
  • Store pet foods separate from people foods, and feed your pets in separate areas from where you eat or prepare food for you and your family.
  • For your health as well as your pet’s health, don’t share your food with your pet.

A word about reverse zoonotic diseases

 

Reverse zoonoses occur when a person spreads a disease to an animal. For example, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be spread to people from animals (zoonotic disease), but it can also be spread to animals from people (reverse zoonotic disease) and then possibly back to people from the infected animal.

Fortunately, the same precautions described above are effective ways to reduce the risk of making your pet sick.

How to start training your puppy?

Puppies are quick learners. They learn from the environment, from socializing with people or other animals and also from direct training. Training gives the perfect foundation for their adulthood. Providing puppies with the appropriate socialization and basic puppy training allows them to grow into confident adult dogs.

Follow this step-by-step puppy training guide to set you and your puppy up for success!

When can you start training your puppy?

 

Training a puppy starts as soon as you bring them home, which is typically about 8 weeks of age. At this young age, they can learn basic puppy training cues such as sit, stay, and come.

Tips for Training Your Puppy

 

Use positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a reward to encourage a behaviour you want. The use of punishment—including harsh corrections; correcting devices such as shock, choke, and prong collars; and dominance-based handling techniques—should be avoided, because these can produce long-term consequences that result in various forms of fear and anxiety for your dog as an adult dog.

To apply this, first find out which rewards work best for your puppy. Some puppies might find something as simple as a piece of their normal kibble exciting enough to train with, while others might need something tastier, like a special training treat.

Then there are the puppies that are not motivated by food at all! For those puppies, try to find a toy they enjoy that they can get when they do a good job. Praise is also a way to positively reinforce a puppy. Petting or showing excitement and saying, “good job!” may be all you need for basic puppy training.

 

Keep training sessions short

When training a basic cue, keep the sessions short, about 5 minutes each, and try to average a total of 15 minutes per day. Puppies have short attention spans, so end your session on a positive note so that they are excited for the next session!

 

Use consistency when training your puppy

It is important to be consistent in your approach to cues and training. Use the same word and/or hand signal when you teach your puppy basic cues such as sit, stay, and come.

It is also important to reinforce desired behaviours consistently, even when it’s not convenient. So if your puppy is at the door needing to go outside to go to the bathroom, stop what you are doing, let them out, and reward them for going to the bathroom outside.

 

Practice in different environments

Taking a puppy to a new environment like a park or the beach and asking for a cue is vastly different than training at your house. This is due to the variety of new sights and smells they will encounter outside the home.

Make attempts to practice in different settings to set your dog up to be confident no matter what their situation. Please keep in mind that puppies should not go to areas where there are a lot of dogs until they have finished their puppy vaccination series!

 

Be Patient

Puppies are growing and learning, just like young children. They will make mistakes and may not always understand what you are asking.

All puppies learn at different speeds, so stick with it and don’t get frustrated. Maintaining a consistent routine with feeding, potty breaks, naps, and playtime will make your puppy feel secure—and a secure puppy is ready and able to learn!

Help pets with pain stay happy

It is that time of the year when your pet may feel uncomfortable due to increased sensation of stiffness and pain in joints. Moreover, for pets who have osteoarthritis, this is one of the most challenging times. Also heart-breaking it is for pet parents to see their child writhing in pain, unable to move with ease because of painful joints. Pets can’t speak for themselves or share their feelings of pain or discomfort. And so, many of the cases can go undiagnosed. It is very important to pay close intention to changes in behaviour to know when it is hurting your pets. Let’s understand pain to beat pain, confidently

As a pet parent, you need to look out for signs in your pet that will alert you to take appropriate action. If you notice signs, it is important that you consult your veterinarian

  • Not playing as much as usual
  • Not going up or down stairs
  • Not willing to jump up onto surfaces, especially cats
  • Difficulty standing after lying down
  • Over grooming or licking a particular area
  • Making more noise than normal
  • Decreased appetite

Pain could either be acute or chronic. Acute Pain is sudden and is usually due to an injury or surgery performed. Chronic Pain occurs over time, is due conditions like Osteoarthritis or Hip dysplasia, which may go undiagnosed for many months.

Osteoarthritis

 

Osteoarthritis is a deterioration of cartilage surrounding the bones that is progressive and permanent. It is one of the most common problems in dogs with almost one in every 5 dogs having osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect dogs of all ages and breeds and is very easily overlooked in younger dogs. Apart from the normal wear and tear of joints that can happen as pets grow old, osteoarthritis may also be due to genetics (some breeds are more likely to have more cases of osteoarthritis than others) or it could be due to nutritional issues or it could be due to lifestyle issues like being over-weight / obese.

While there is no simple cure that erases osteoarthritis, several strategies make a significant positive impact on its progression and effects. The initial signs could be that the dog limps while walking or has trouble standing up. Over time, matters can get really worse.

Osteoarthritis management requires “multi-modal care”. And as a pet parent, you have lots to do to ease pain and reduce further damage to your pet’s joints.

  • Learn to recognize signs of pain
  • Change your pet to a healthy diet and add supplements
  • Consult veterinarian for exercise requirements and put your pet on a healthy routine
  • Monitor your pet’s body weight regularly
  • Give complementary therapies like cold and heat pad application