Healthy Pets, Healthy People
Pets provide many benefits to humans. They comfort us and they give us companionship.
However, some animals can also pass diseases to people. These diseases are called zoonoses.
Although animals can carry germs, it is important to know that you are more likely to get some of these germs from other sources than from your pet or another animal you encounter.
The following information is provided so you can enjoy your new pet while protecting yourself against diseases they may carry.
Protect Your Pet, Protect Yourself
- Choose a healthy pet. Have your pet checked out by a veterinarian on a regular basis.
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
- Have your pet de-wormed and watch for signs of disease, fleas or ticks
- Choose a pet that is suitable for you and your family’s lifestyle.
- Provide your pet with healthy food, plenty of clean water and a healthy environment.
- Feed your pet only pet food or cook all meat thoroughly before giving it to your pet.
- Never feed your pet raw meat.
- Keep your pet away from other sick animals.
- When cleaning areas soiled by pets, wear vinyl or household cleaning gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm running water right after you are done.
- Use disinfectant and avoid inhaling pet droppings, litter dust, etc.
- Dispose of cleaning materials and pet waste in a securely fastened, leak-proof plastic bag.
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water before and after handling your pet, and after contact with its feces (droppings) or body fluids.
- Do not adopt wild (exotic) animals.
- Never place items contaminated by pets in or near the mouth.
In Clark County, the following diseases have been associated with animals:
- Campylobacteriosis — Dogs, cats, other mammals and birds.
- Giardiasis — Dogs, cats
- Hookworm — Dogs, cats
- Roundworm — Dogs, cats, raccoons
- Salmonellosis — Reptiles, many other species, including dogs, cats, birds and livestock.
- Ringworm (Dermatophytosis) — Dogs (young animals, Persian cats and Yorkshire Terriers are at greater risk)
- Scabies (Sarcoptic mange) — Dogs, cats
Diseases Spread by Bites and Scratches:
- Bartonellosis (Cat scratch fever) — Cats, kittens
- Rabies — Most warm blooded animals (Clark County — bats)
Wash Your Hands
Hand washing is the best way to prevent illnesses from pets. Follow these steps to wash your hands properly:
- Place your hands under warm, running water.
- Place soap in your hands and rub them together for at least 15-20 seconds
- Wash all surfaces well, including wrists, palms, back of hands, fingers and under your fingernails
- Rinse the soap from your hands and dry them completely with a clean, disposable paper towel or air dry
- Assist young children with washing their hands.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
For more information or to report human zoonotic diseases, contact the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300 or Environmental Health Division at (702) 759-0588.
Updated on: August 21, 2018