Pet-Related Infections

Notes from American Family Physician, Nov 15, 2016, “Pet-Related Infections” (Michael J Day):

At-risk groups the usual: the young, the old, the immunocompromised, and the pregnant.


  • Microsporum canis can spread from dogs to humans (or cats, other pets), esp those with skin diseases (eczema) or immunocompromise.  Dermatophytoses in a dog will cause erythema, scaling and alopecia.
  • Can affect dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents.
  • Humans usu respond to topical antifungals, animals need proper systemic tx.
  • Affected households should clean bedding, avoid exposure of animal to carpeted areas, culture all cohabiting animals.

Scabies (Sarcoptic mange)

  • The dog mite can infest humans, but not easily, and usually transiently.  Cats are resistant to the dog mite.
  • The human mite does not infect dogs.
  • There are several effective treatments for infested dogs.
  • Infestations cause hair loss, papules, excoriations and inflammation.


  • Fetal infection can affect the developing CNS and eyes.
  • Pet cats usually don’t infect pregnant owners because cats groom feces from their fur before oocytes become infectious.
  • Measures to prevent:  non-pregnant people clean the cat box, person cleaning should wear gloves, clean the box frequently, keep cats indoors, avoid undercooked meats or raw, uncleaned vegetables.

Bartonellosis (cat-scratch disease)

  • Fever, LAD days to weeks after infection – Bartonella transmitted by cat fleas, flea stool can contaminate claws and teeth.
  • Think about bartonellosis in patients with chronic joint, neuro and vascular symptoms exposed to potentially contaminated cats.
  • Can progress to tonsillitis, encephalitis, cerebral arteritis, transverse myelitis, hepatitis/splenitis, other chronic/atypical manifestations.

Tick-borne diseases

  • map of tick species: Tick Distribution
  • much more likely to catch tick-borne disease from the environment than from a household pet
  • most ticks feed to completion before dropping off, but if they drop off prematurely, they could reattach to a human and transmit disease
  • both animals and humans can have more than one tick-borne disease at a time
  • pet owners should routinely use anti-tick meds/collars/etc.


  • reptiles and amphibians are not recommended pets for children < 5 years old
  • also, the old and immunocompromised should not have reptiles or amphibians
  • consider in exposed patients with diarrhea and fever
  • also associated with backyard chickens (much more than other birds)


  • transmitted by infected dog, cat urine or contaminated water
  • or, by direct penetration of intact skin by infected blood, urine or tissue

Link to One Health Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association:  WSAVA link

Human lice and human pinworms don’t infect pets.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s