One of the main concerns that you tell us when you buy your dogs, and especially when there are children at home, is the risk that dogs can transmit diseases. Therefore, we want to explain what is zoonosis in dogs, its types, symptoms and how to prevent them.
What is zoonosis in dogs?
“Zoonosis” is the scientific term that defines those diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. Some of them may simply cause discomfort, but others, such as rabies, are really dangerous and potentially fatal.
When it comes to disease transmission, there are different zoonotic pathogens in dogs. They can be fungi, parasites, bacteria and invertebrate animals. Transmission can be direct, from animal to person, or indirect, through contact with contaminated soil, vegetables and food, but also by inhalation or ingestion.
Obviously, if your dog lives inside your home, feeds in your kitchen and sleeps in your beds, the risk of contracting one of the zoonotic canine diseases is much higher.
However, there are ways to minimize the risks and prevent the spread of any zoonosis in dogs to our families.
Types of zoonoses in dogs
Although some of the zoonoses in dogs that we are going to tell you about are not very well known at a popular level, every year there are some cases in our country, so you should know what they are and what symptoms they give.
Surely this is one of the most familiar canine diseases. Rabies is caused by the Rhabdoviridae, which is a virus found in the saliva and secretions of infected animals.
In this type of zoonosis in dogs, the contagion can be transmitted to people when a dog or other infected animal causes a bite injury. It can also be transmitted through mucous membranes or through a cut or wound on the skin that comes into contact with the salivary secretions of an infected animal.
The serious thing is that there is no treatment for dogs or humans, so the only preventive tool is to vaccinate your dog.
Since rabies affects the central nervous system, the most frequent symptoms are behavioral disorders suffered by the animal, due to hallucinations. There may also be loss of appetite and eventually become paralyzed until death occurs in a few weeks.
Although it is a serious disease, Spain is considered free of the disease, not counting the sporadic cases in Ceuta and Melilla.
Lyme disease is another type of zoonosis in dogs caused by ticks. It is also known as Lyme disease. It is a zoonosis, since it is naturally transmitted to humans from animals, such as dogs, which act as a reservoir.
Its main symptom is the skin rash that occurs in most people, but also fever, muscle, joint and head pain.
In dogs, the bacterium begins to reproduce two days after biting the pet. In the beginning, a rounded, reddened local lesion with a white center is created. Afterwards, the bacterium spreads to the lymph nodes and reaches the bloodstream to disseminate throughout the body. In addition to vomiting and inflammation of the lymph nodes, in a more advanced stage it can deform the joints, causing the dog to become lame.
Inflammation can reach the heart muscle, so Lyme disease can be fatal, even more so if not diagnosed and treated in time.
Campylobacteriosis is a disease caused by a bacterium in dogs, and also in guinea pigs, cats, pigs, cattle, poultry, etc. Like other zoonoses in dogs, this disease can be transmitted to humans by contact with a sick animal or by eating contaminated food or water.
Among other symptoms, campylobacteriosis can cause general malaise, diarrhea, fever and blood in the stool. Fortunately, most people recover on their own without the need for any drugs.
This is another infection that occurs in dogs through contact with water contaminated by the urine of already sick dogs or animals. It causes problems in the liver and kidneys of dogs.
This zoonosis in dogs is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito called Flebotomus perniciosus and occurs in most of the Spanish territory, so it has become an endemic disease.
Leishmaniasis is very serious for animals, since there is no curative treatment. However, it can be controlled with medication and regular check-ups by your veterinarian.
The most frequent symptoms are: skin desquamations, weight loss, hairless areas, ulcers on the skin and mucous membranes, nosebleeds, fever peaks, weakness and diarrhea that does not subside.
Usually the human immune system is prepared to fight this disease. But in the case of people with some other disease or immunosuppressed, they can become infected if they are bitten by an infected mosquito, but not by contact with the dog. However, there have been some cases of direct transmission by mechanical transmission or by direct contact with the lesions.
Hydatidosis is another pathology that can be transmitted to humans. The animal becomes infected by ingesting the eggs of the parasite. It should be noted that the dog does not suffer from the disease, it only transmits it. That is why, in most cases, dog owners may not be aware that their pet has this pathology.
This is another zoonosis in dogs caused by a fungus that lives in the cells of the outer layer of the skin. It affects the skin of both animals and people on any part of the body and is more frequent in dogs and cats that spend a lot of time outdoors.
It also happens that frequent bathing of pets makes them more susceptible to ringworm, because the skin’s protective sebum is removed. It is spread by direct or indirect contact with the sick animal and causes alopecia and inflammation of the area. There is no effective vaccine for animals, so the best prevention consists of extreme hygienic measures.
There are other zoonoses in dogs such as pasteurellosis, which can be caused by the transmission of bacteria through dog bites, or salmonellosis, which can be transmitted to humans through infected dogs or food.
How to protect your family from zoonoses in dogs
Since vaccines exist for some of the zoonoses in dogs, this is the first way to protect your whole family, including your furry friend, from possible canine infections. But, as it is not possible for all of them, from Las Almenas we recommend you:
Choose your new pet carefully.
When acquiring a dog you should be attentive to those signs that can give you clues that the animal is sick. Choose a dog that is lively, alert and playful. It is not a good sign if it shows an apathetic behavior. However, if you doubt and do not want to gamble, it is best to acquire your new puppy only in trusted places that carry out a perfect veterinary control, as well as hygiene and deworming.
Worry about your dog’s health
When you acquire a dog you also acquire the obligation to take the best possible care of it. Do not forget to continue with its vaccination schedule and perform the necessary veterinary check-ups.
Do not touch your pet’s urine or feces with your bare hands, always wear gloves. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling any animal or its food or after making its bedding.
Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly and make sure that, if the child is under 5 years old, he/she does not touch other animals since they tend to put things in their mouths.
Beware of certain habits
Kisses, as well as games where a scratch or bite can be enough to transmit this type of infections.
Nor should you let your dog eat where the whole family eats or prepares food, better in separate areas.
We love them, we protect them
We know how important it is for you and your family to have a healthy and well-behaved dog. We also want the best for our Las Almenas dog family, that’s why we take care of our litters with the utmost care.
As a responsible breeder for toy or mini breeds, in Las Almenas we have developed a specific protocol to protect our puppies from the most common diseases and zoonoses that can affect them. Our veterinarian carries a rigorous control of each one of our dogs, to make sure we avoid any source of contagion.
Our puppies are delivered with their vaccinations in order and at least 3 months old. This time is enough to know and review carefully the characteristics of each puppy and check that each of them meets the standards of their breed and are balanced dogs.
But remember that the rest of the commitment is yours. You will have to continue to watch over his health by taking care of him and pampering him in his new home. We hope this information will help you achieve this, but if you have any questions about zoonoses in dogs or want to leave us a comment, you can do it here below the article or on our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube profiles.