Pets put some people at higher risk of getting sick - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Pets put some people at higher risk of getting sick

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COLUMBUS, OH (CBS) -

Owning a dog or cat has many health benefits.

However, a new study revealed that those furry friends can also transmit diseases and put some family members at higher risk of getting sick.

Amanda Irvin gets plenty of love from her dog Little Woof.

Kisses, though, are just one way pets can transmit viruses, bacteria and parasites.

The study from Ohio State University showed that dogs, cats, reptiles and amphibians can pass along salmonella, Clostridium difficile-resistant bacteria, roundworm and hookworm.

It said transmission can occur through bites, scratches, saliva and when owners clean up after their pets.

“The organism is passed in the feces, in the poop of a particular pet, and people inadvertently get that poop into their mouth,” said Dr. Jason Stull of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

While most people have very low risk of infection, Stull said the most vulnerable people include seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with weak immunity.

He said owners need to wash their hands after holding their pets.

“Those that are at increased risk should really try and discourage face-licking,” Stull said. “Pets, whether they be dogs or cats or other animals, carry a lot of different organisms in their mouth just like people.”

Irvine said she has worked with pets, exotic animals and farm animals her whole life and knows they can carry diseases.

Still she doesn't mind having Little Woof lick her face.

“I wouldn't have it any other way,” she said.

Irvine said she just makes sure she practices good hygiene.

Doctors also recommend wearing protective gloves when cleaning yards, cages or aquariums and maintaining a pet's health and hygiene.

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