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5 Diseases Dogs Can Pass to Their Owners

Careful when cuddling! Learn about 5 diseases that can jump from dog to human

It's no secret that dogs give us companionship and fulfillment. After all, that's two of the many reasons dogs are so loved. Unfortunately, if we're not careful we can get more than love from our dogs. By this I mean diseases. Because dogs can transmit various conditions and diseases to humans, you should think twice before sharing an ice cream cone with your dog or kissing him.

Even though there are many diseases we can contract from our dogs, I've listed 5 below that are very common.

Let's first start with the three R's: Ringworm, Roundworms and Rabies.

1. Ringworm

If you notice hairless round patches on your dog, he may have a ringworm condition. Ringworm is caused by a fungus that can be easily transmitted from dogs to humans. To keep from contracting this condition from your infected dog, be sure to always wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap after petting him. If your dog develops this condition, don't worry. It can be easily treated with proper medication. If you happen to contract this condition from your dog, you can get rid of it with a special anti-fungal cream.

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2. Roundworms

In case you're not familiar with roundworms, they're spaghetti-looking parasites that are often found in a dog's digestive system. Roundworms are very serious because they can cause blindness. You may be asking, ìHow can they cause someone to go blind?î Well, here's an example: If a dog that's infected with roundworms defecates outside, several eggs can be deposited into the soil. Children love playing in dirt, but they also love sticking their dirty hands into their mouth. If they do this, they could accidentally ingest some of the roundworm eggs. The eggs will then develop into larvae and establish themselves in their eye(s), causing blindness. This is just one of the many reasons that dogs needs to be given de-wormers on a regular basis.

3. Rabies

We've all heard of rabies. This condition is so serious that it's now required in most states that dogs receive the rabies vaccination. In order for a dog owner to contract rabies from their pet, the dog must first be bit by a rabid animal and then their dog must bite them. Another way a human can contract this condition from their infected dog is if their dog's saliva gets into contact with an open wound they may have. Rabies is a potentially fatal condition and should always be treated seriously. If your dog has been bitten by another dog or any type of wildlife, you need to report it to the proper authorities so your dog can be quarantined to help prevent a rabies outbreak in case it did happen to contract the condition after getting bit.

RELATED: The Importance of Micro-Chipping Your Dog

4. Lyme Disease

Even though dogs can't transmit Lyme disease to humans, we can still contract this condition through our dogs. How is this possible? One word: TICKS! Ticks are carriers of Lyme disease and since they can often be found on dogs, owners can develop the disease if they're bitten by an infected tick. Within 2 weeks of developing Lyme disease, you may notice a rash that resembles a bulls-eye target. You may also run a fever. Some infected people may not ever show any early symptoms. The best thing to do to avoid this from happening in the first place is to avoid areas that are infested with ticks. If you live in an area where it's impossible to avoid ticks, consult with your dog's veterinarian regarding the issue so he can prescribe a special tick preventative for your dog. Just remember to stay on schedule with the preventative and to not forget to give it to your dog.

5. Scabies

Scabies are the result of your dog itching and developing scabs all over his body. What causes this is when a mite burrows itself in the skin and causes constant itching, scabs and hair loss. Luckily, if humans contract this condition from their dogs, the itchiness will only last a few weeks and then go away on its own, without the need for medication. The itchiness doesn't last a long time because dogs are the mites' main host, not humans.

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So, as you can see, there are ways to contract conditions from our dogs. There are actually many more than I've listed above. The best things you can do to help keep yourself protected from contracting diseases from your dog are the following:

Keep vaccinations up-to-date.

Use flea, tick and heartworm preventative, and stay on schedule.

Keep your yard clean of dog feces.

Always wash your hands after petting your dog, or any dog for that matter.

If you suspect that your dog has contracted any of the conditions listed above, consult with your dog's veterinarian immediately. Don't wait until it's too late. The ultimate goal is prevention, but when a condition does develop, the new ultimate goal is to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

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