Having a pet is a hugely fulfilling feeling. Be it a furry friend or a gold fish swimming in a bowl, it warms up your heart for sure. We bare our souls to our fuzzy friends and open up our lives and hearts to accommodate them in. But did you ever realize that your loving pet could be exposing you to a host of germs and bacteria that are reason to your skin concerns?
Mostly, it’s the dogs and cats who find space in people’s homes and hearts. Since cats and dogs freely roam the neighborhood they pick up bacteria, mites, bugs, ticks and worms quite easily. Such bugs can cause zoonotic diseases (conditions caused by passing of bugs from animals to humans). You shouldn’t be surprised if your pet picks up a bug from you and passes it right back to you!
If you have been getting a nasty rash or your skin has been experiencing some problems it could be your pets. Here are three skin infections that your pet could give you:
Ringworms – Despite its name, ringworm isn’t really a worm. It is a dermatophytic fungal infection of the skin. This fungal infection is very contagious and can spread via the human to human route easily. Pets, especially young ones, make excellent ringworm carriers. There is a high probability of this fungus infecting us from our ‘pet’ carriers. If you notice any patches of missing fur on your pet consult your vet for ringworms. In humans, this condition is manifested by itchy scaly rashes on the sweat prone areas of the body such as around the groin (jocks itch), feet (athletes’ foot) and the scalp where it can also lead to bald spots.
Scabies – Mites can cause your pet and you a lot of damage as mites feed off the blood of their hosts. The Sarcoptes scabiei mite gets under the skin of your pet and gives him hair loss with a bad itch. But if these mites jump off and land on you then you could get infected with scabies. This condition is characterized by an itchy pimply rash that could last for weeks. To treat the rash you need a scabicide that will kill the mites. All your pet’s beddings and towels need to be cleaned thoroughly and sealed in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours.
Hookworms – Hookworms are scary. They can easily find their way into your pet’s intestines if your pet noses around soil containing hook worm or if he eats and drinks contaminated food or water. The hookworms inside your pet’s stomach will lay eggs in its intestine and feed on its blood. These eggs/ larvae can easily find their way to humans. Hookworms infest a skin condition called ‘The creeping eruption’. This appears like an angry red, itchy rash on the skin and as it gets severe you may develop abdominal cramps, anemia and even diarrhea.
Beyond doubt, love your pets unconditionally, the way they love us. But, do keep your eyes open for any unexplained rash. Have you contracted any skin infections from your pets? Write in and let us know.