Numerous studies confirm the positive effects of pets on the health and well-being of their owners, especially their children. However, pets not only make you healthy but sometimes they also make you sick: there are some pathogens that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Infections with bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites that can be transmitted from an animal to humans are called zoonoses.
Since cats and dogs are the most popular pets, they are also the most common source of zoonotic diseases. Diarrheal diseases are particularly frequently transmitted from animals to humans. The contagious germs are primarily salmonellae. Animals usually pick up these pathogens through slaughterhouse waste and uncooked offal. The number two diarrheal pathogen is Campylobacter. Young puppies in particular excrete such germs for up to six months without being sick themselves.
Young cats, on the other hand, are guilty of another zoonosis, the so-called cat-scratch disease. The playful and cuddly animals transmit the rod-shaped bacteria of the Bartonella genus by scratching or biting. Fleas living on cats can also pass on the bacteria. In Germany, up to 70 percent of domestic cats are infected with Bartonella.