Whoever has a pet knows what it is to love an animal. That is why it is easy for the owners to give them kisses and hugs in gratitude for the great company they offer. But these days many people wonder, ” Could I get sick or risk my health by kissing my pet? ».
According to David García , a veterinarian at AniCura San Fermín Veterinary Hospital, the transmission of a disease from a dog or cat to a human being “is very rare if the companion animal regularly attends the veterinarian. However, there are some diseases, of relatively low severity, which are somewhat more frequent due to their transmission between animals and humans. For this reason, immunosuppressed people, with a weakened immune system, are the ones who must take greater precaution when faced with this type of affection.
The infectious diseases that a pet could spread through saliva and kisses are:
—Parasitic diseases: those caused by another organism such as an insect or worm that lodges in the organism of our pet. These types of diseases can be transmitted from companion animals to humans through saliva. Normally, it is a little complex disease and easy to solve by pharmacological treatment. One of the most common diseases is Toxicariais, caused by the Toxocara earthworm. To avoid this type of disease, it is essential to carry out deworming within the deadlines indicated by our veterinarian.
—Fungal caused diseases: caused by organisms such as molds or yeasts. Among this type of diseases, one of the most common is Ringworm. This disease causes a skin infection with rashes and intense redness of the skin. Ringworm is transmitted from an animal to a human by skin contact or using contaminated utensils from the pet. Treating the disease in pets and humans is straightforward, including the use of creams and ointments.
—Bacterial and viral diseases: Pets can be hosts to bacteria and viruses that they can transmit to their handlers. In this sense, the most common is Campylobacter infection, which causes diarrhea, gastroenteritis or severe abdominal pain. Normally this infection tends to remit spontaneously thanks to the action of the immune system. Within this group of diseases, there are pathologies such as rabies, which are easily preventable with the vaccination of pets.
«The best way to avoid the appearance and transmission of these diseases is through vaccination and deworming of our pet. As caregivers, it is our duty to maintain proper hygiene, especially if we have a weakened immune system, and try not to kiss our pets.
What happens to the coronavirus?
According to experts, and from what is known about other coronaviruses, there is no evidence that domestic dogs and cats can be a source of Covid-19 infection for pets and humans. “There is limited evidence of risk of viruses in pets. As a precautionary measure, it is advisable to keep pets away from infected people and to confine pets to Covid-19 positives.. A small number of pets have been tested on people infected with coronavirus. Additionally, a tiger from the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. SARC-CoV-2 is a human virus and the highest risk of transmission known today is from people, not from humans to pets. There is hardly any evidence of this risk, so testing pets is unnecessary, “explains David García.