How Contagious Are Sick Pets to Humans?

Sick pets have the ability to transmit diseases, known as Zoonotic diseases, to humans. However, the risk to humans is much less if proper precautions are implemented while handling pets. Humans with a compromised immune system should be particularly careful when dealing with pets. This includes children, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone already suffering from a disease. Pets become sick due to the infection from various parasites, viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi, and it is important to know which of these can be contagious to humans. Following are some of the pet diseases that are contagious to humans.


Pets such as dogs and cats can be infected by worms that can be transmitted to humans. Contaminated pets will have traces of these worms, eggs, or larvae in their feces, which can remain in any defecation site. Direct contact of such sites with food or with your hand or feet will help the worms to find their way into your intestines, where they will continue to grow and multiply. Hookworms and roundworms are two such worms that can infect humans. Hookworms are a leading cause of maternal and child mortality in developing countries. They can also cause intellectual and growth retardation in newborns born to infected mothers


Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that can infect your cat. This parasite can also be transmitted though feces and is especially dangerous to pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage, birth defects and premature births.

Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria Bartonella Henselae, which is spread by fleas. It is usually transmitted through a scratch or bite from an infected cat. Young children are mostly affected by this disease. A person with this disease may experience fever, headache and poor appetite. Small lumps are usually formed at the site of injury.


Ringworm is actually a fungal infection that spreads from the skin/fur of an infected pet. The lesions are circular, presenting a worm-like appearance on the pet's skin. Mircosporum Canis is the fungus that causes ringworms in most cases. They affect such the outer layers of skin, hair and nails of the pet. A pet with ringworms will usually have patchy and itchy skin. Children are more likely to be affected by this infection.


Rabies is a deadly neuroinvasive viral disease transmitted by a bite of an infected animal. The virus affects the central nervous system and can then spread to other organs. Few humans are known to survive after the first symptoms appear. Early symptoms include headache and fever. The final stages cause acute pain, depression and the inability to swallow water. It is important to get your pet vaccinated for this virus.