What are zoonotic ectoparasites, and why should I be aware of them? -Travel Animal Doctor
What is a zoonotic disease? In Layman’s terms, zoonotic diseases are known as diseases that can be spread from a specific species to humans. Ectoparasites are simply parasites that infect your body externally.
My first article of this series is entitled, “Parasites: Can I Contract Fleas from my Dog or Cat?”, which gave a brief description of parasites and described some of the parasites you can find on your animal that are not zoonotic. The second article I wrote, found here, gave examples of important internal zoonotic parasites. This article will focus on external zoonotic parasites, commonly called zoonotic ectoparasites.
- Do you take your dog walks in fields by a pond?
- Do you hike with your pet in the woods?
It is always an adventure traveling and exercising with pets. But keeping your pet protected from disease while exercising and traveling is extremely important.
This quick list contains three parasites to be aware of that can carry zoonotic diseases, and tips to prevent them.
Fleas are zoonotic ectoparasites that come from prairie dogs and cats, and can cause the plague.
Cats are often transmitted the plague by fleas.
When active infection is present cats can spread the plague to humans by a scratch or bite. The key to prevention of the plague is to provide flea preventatives for your feline friend.
This simple solution can protect your entire family from a serious disease.
There are a number of mites that infect pets that are another type of zoonotic endoparasite.
As they are zoonotic, these parasites can also spread from animal to people.
Sarcoptes, for example, is also known as scabies and will cause a rash on dogs and people.
In humans, scabies is a self-limiting disease because the mites will not reproduce.
The easiest way to prevent your pet from getting this zoonotic ectoparasite is to keep him or her away from other animals with mange.
If you notice an animal has irregular hair loss, crusty skin and/or rashes, keep your pet at a distance.
There are many tickborne diseases that affect people and animals alike.
Pets and people are often exposed to ticks when walking in the woods or when they are on hikes. Pets often can get ticks from just being outside.
- A mechanism that ticks use to latch on to you and your pets is to crawl up on the top of tall grasses so that when your skin brushes up against that grass it is game on.
- One way for you to prevent this is to keep your grass mowed.
- It is also important to check yourself and your pets after a hike in the woods.
- Some diseases caused by ticks that can affect people and animals are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ehrlichiosis.
When the tick latches onto your skin the tick’s saliva is transmitted to you via the bite and transmits the disease into your bloodstream.
Tickborne illnesses are painful to you and your pet.
- Many ectoparasites are species-specific meaning they have a species in particular that they can reproduce on. It is important to stay one step ahead of these pests by keeping your pet and you safe.
- With monthly preventatives, the proper vaccines and proper control of your environment you can keep your pet protected from these ectoparasites.
- These are just a few examples of many zoonotic diseases ectoparasites can carry. As always, the easiest, cheapest and most painless way of dealing with these zoonotic ectoparasites is prevention.