Can My Dog or Cat Catch a Cold from Me?
This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.
The pandemic has caused us all to think more about disease transmission between humans and animals. As we head into our annual cold and flu season, many pet parents begin to worry that they will pass along their illness to their pet.
Good news! People and pets are unlikely to share viruses. Whew! The viruses that cause the common cold and flu are typically species specific. Each year there are a few documented cases of a cat or dog becoming infected with human influenza from their caretaker, but this is extremely rare. So the next time you are under the weather, feel free to keep snuggling with your furry friend.
While you can breathe easy knowing that you are not likely to pass your cold along to your pet, and your pet won't likely be passing along COVID-19 to you, there are a few other bugs you may catch more easily from your pet:
1. Scabies (mange)
Sarcoptic mange can be transmitted from animals to humans. These little white mites cause a lot of itching for both pets and their people. Humans don’t typically become infested and symptoms usually subside when their pet is treated. If your pet is itchy, a visit to the vet is in order to rule out parasites such as mites, fleas, and lice.
2. Intestinal parasites.
Dogs and cats carry intestinal parasites that can be passed to humans. Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms can all be passed to people. Many of these parasites are specific to geographic regions and can be prevented with monthly parasite control. Good hygiene and flea control can also prevent infections. Talk with your veterinarian to make a plan to protect yourself and your pet.
3. Antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The number of pets with antibiotic resistant bacterial infections is increasing at an alarming rate due to the overuse of antibiotics in both people and animals. These infections can spread to people. Using antibiotics judiciously is an important step to keep you safe. You can do your part by using antibiotics for your pet only when necessary and by allowing your veterinarian to culture infections if indicated. This allows your vet to pick the best antibiotic the first time and avoid creating resistance.
If you have any questions about what you can catch from your pet, I would love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below!