Can your pet’s health affect your health?

The conditional love and affection offered by pets can enrich your life. Spending quality time with your pet not only uplifts your mood, but it can work wonders with your health. Having a pet around you has a calming effect and can help you fight day-to-day stress.

There is no doubt that a pet is a family member and it is very common for pet owners to call themselves pet parents. Yes, a pet becomes the baby of the house and you go out of your way to spoil the baby. So, it is quite devastating when a pet falls ill. But, did you know that your pet’s health could have a profound effect on your own health? It is quite possible to get infections from a sick pet. In fact, even if a pet is not ill, they still can be carriers of germs and microorganisms that can make you or your loved ones ill.

More: 5 ways pets benefit your health

Here are some of the effects a sick pet can have on your lifestyle and health:

  • Campylobacter infection: If your pet carries the Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, it can cause this infection. And if you become infected, you will suffer abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea. Note there two million cases of Campylobacter infection reported each year in the US, and these bacteria are currently the primary cause behind bacterial gastroenteritis. It is a contagious infection and can easily spread among family members and children in preschool and childcare. Campylobacter infection is treated with antibiotics.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF): This is spread by ticks carrying the Rickettsia ricketsii bacteria. Dogs frequently carry these ticks. Symptoms include headaches, chills, high fever, muscle aches and a rash that can slowly spread across your wrists, palms, trunk, ankles and soles. RMSF can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Rabies: Statistics from the CDC show that in 2014, 7.37 percent of domestic pets and animals were rabid. In the US, most people contract rabies from dogs, but it also possible to get rabies from cats and other pets like ferrets. The disease transfers to humans when an infected animal bites. Usually, pets contract rabies from wild animals and symptoms appear after one to three days after the bite. Rabies is fatal for your pet and if a rabid pet has bitten you, you will need immediate medical attention.
  • Stress: Having a sick animal on your hands is stressful. It will take a toll on you mentally, emotionally and financially. A sick pet requires care like any other family member and this would mean running to the vet, getting a diagnosis, paying through your nose for treatment, and taking care of your pet. It can be extremely stressful, especially if you have to manage other aspects of your life.
  • Financial cost: Veterinarian bills can turn into a nightmare if you don’t have pet insurance to cover the cost of your sick pet’s treatment. And, if your pet succumbs to the illness, you will have to think about the best ways to send off a pet. Pet cremation or burial can be expensive if you do not know how to choose the right cremation facility.

Several studies have proven that the special bond between pet owners and their pets does not just lower stress, but also increases fitness and bring happiness. They can help improve your overall health, lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels, and reduce or prevent stress, anxiety and depression. However, the fact that an ill pet can affect your health and lifestyle means you should make it a point that your four-legged family member is always in the best of health.

Tips to keep your pet healthy

Ensure your furry companion stays healthy by following a few tips:

  • Take your pet for vet visits on a regular basis so that it stays in good health.
  • Always practice good hygiene around your pets so that germs are not passed to you.
  • Learn about the different diseases that different types of pets can spread – just to be on the safe side.
  • If you notice anything amiss, take your pet to the vet immediately

The bottom line

Your pet’s health can have a major impact on yours, which is why you need to make sure that your pet is always in good health. No matter what type of pet you own, keep it healthy so that there is no risk to you and your family’s health.

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