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Remember Your Beloved Pet
Diseases You Can Not Get From Your Pet
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
While there are many zoonotic diseases -- diseases your pets can have and give to you -- there are also diseases which are pet-specific and that do not travel between humans and animals. Here is a list of some of those diseases which are pet-specific, but are sometimes misunderstood as a threat to humans:

Commonly known as Feline AIDS, this is a virus that cats can have which affects their immune system. It is the result of a lentivirus and will cause infected cats to become vulnerable to other diseases, such as lymphoma. However, some cats can have FIV and not have any long term effects.

Canine Distemper Virus
This virus can be very devastating for dogs. It starts as a respiratory infection, becomes an intestinal disease, and can ultimately cause seizures. Fortunately, wide spread vaccination has done a wonderful job of eliminating the disease in dogs who are vaccinated. Although humans can pick up the virus, it does not cause any diseases in humans.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
FeLV decreases the immune system in cats. FeLV-positive cats are more susceptible to contracting other diseases, so good hygiene is always a must for infected cats and their owners.

Parvo Virus
Even though there are many human versions of the parvo virus, these are not the same as that which causes parvo virus infections in dogs. So if your dog does become infected with the parvo virus, you and your household are not at risk. However, good hygiene is necessary for the entire household, because dogs infected with parvo can also have other diseases that they can spread to you, such as worms.

Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is caused by bacteria and viral components. The viral portion is a very species-specific virus to dogs. While there are viruses very similar to kennel cough that can make humans sick, the kennel cough virus your dog has will not be spread to you.

It's important to remember that, even if your pet has one of these diseases which are not known to cause problems in people, your pet may also have other infections that are known to cause problems in humans. I always recommend good hygienic habits when handling any affected animals to lessen the possibility of secondary or co-infections.

Have any of your pets been affected by these diseases? If so, what did you do to protect your pet from secondary infections?
srstephanie responded:
Hi Dr Jones,

Just a note on "Kennel Cough" which might be confusing to some people. As you know and mention, there are a variety of causes of what is popularly called "Kennel Cough" (and the experts are now calling, "Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease" i.e. "CIRD"). The two most common causes include a virus (Parainfluenza) and a bacteria (Bordetella bronchiseptica). You say you are talking about the viral cause of Kennel Cough, and I think you're correct on that.

But I think many nearly equate a Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterial infection with "Kennel Cough" ... and there is evidence that immunocompromised people can become infected and quite sick with Bordetella bronchiseptica. The more common form of Bordetella that infects humans is Bordetella pertussis (i.e. Whooping Cough) but occasionally Bordetella bronchiseptica is found in humans.

Dr Richard Ford (a leading veterinary Infectious Disease expert from NC State and a co-author of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines) tells the story at vet CE talks of a woman who boarded her dogs when she went to the hospital to give birth to her child. When she returned home and got her dogs, they were coughing with what turned out to be Bordetella bronchiseptica. Soon after, the new mother got very ill and was hospitalized, and I think went into a coma. The hospital kept culturing Bordetella bronchiseptica ... and called Dr Ford to come for a consultation. The woman recovered but it was an example that some people with a compromised immune system (of which pregnancy can be a cause) can be susceptible to Bordetella bronchiseptica.

In the new (fall 2011) AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines, one of the Q&A items at the end refers to this in terms of the use of the Intranasal vaccine for Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) which is an attenuated (weakened) live bacterin vaccine. Here is the Q&A from the Guidelines:

52. Is there any risk to clientele or veterinary staff, especially immune compromised individuals, subsequent to intranasal vaccination with an avirulent live (attenuated) Bb vaccine?

It is possible for transient shedding of attenuated Bb to occur following intranasal administration. There are two known reports identifying a temporal relationship between the identification of human Bordetella infection and exposure to attenuated live Bb canine vaccine, one of which was in an immunocompromised patient.

I realize that it is a rare occurrence and seems to only be a problem with immunocompromised people. And I know you were talking about the viral cause of Kennel Cough (Parainfluenza). But I just wanted to mention that there may be some people (e.g. with AIDS, taking chemotherapy, having had their spleen removed, etc) who may want to be careful if their dog starts coughing a lot, particularly after being boarded, and might have Bordetella bronchiseptica.

I think it can be confusing when "Kennel Cough" is often used to describe multiple types of infections and just wanted to (hopefully) help clarify what you were saying.

Stephanie in Montreal
M Duffy Jones, DVM replied to srstephanie's response:
Great information. Thanks for the clarification.
noonkester2 responded:
Wash my hands with anti bacterial soap after each time I touch the puppy
noonkester2 replied to M Duffy Jones, DVM's response:
The puppy sleeps with me also


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