Diarrhoea in pets, beware the potential risk to human health

This photomicrograph reveals giardia lamblia trophozoites that c

Diarrhoea in dogs and cats is not uncommon, in most cases symptoms are short lived and self limiting (clearing up with little or no treatment). However, when diarrhoea persists/becomes chronic investigation and treatment trials are warranted. Recently we have seen a number of cases of chronic diarrhoea in young animals with infections, which could potentially cause symptoms in humans, have been diagnosed. Diseases which can be spread between animals and humans are called zoonosis.

Zoonotic diseases which can cause diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal signs include giardia (image shows the parasite under the microscope), campylobacter, E.coli and salmonella. While each clinical case will require tailored therapy, the importance of hygiene to help control and help prevent spread of disease cannot be overstated. Washing/bathing the coat of affected pets which have soiled themselves, quickly clearing up messes when they are made and disinfecting the area, where possible, will help reduce spread of disease. Basic hand hygiene and not letting your pet lick you being important in helping prevent dog to human transfer. Following good hygiene practices not only helps prevent spread of disease between animals and humans but can also help speed the recovery of the affected pet. We hope to bring you a more detailed newsletter article on diarrhoea in companion animals later this year.

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