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The owners of pets may contract parasites from them.

contract parasites

Asia has seen a shift in attitudes regarding pet ownership, with animals now considered members of the family.

Despite our love for our pets, the parasite illnesses that plague them can be passed on to us and have a terrible impact on our own health.

contract parasites

Although though most of us now live in urban areas and keep our dogs indoors, parasites still pose a health risk since certain (known as zoonotic parasites) can have an impact on both human and animal health.

Over half (45%) of pet cats and dogs in East Asia and South-East Asia, including Malaysia, have at least one parasite, according to a study by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim and the University of Bari in Italy.

And 85% of those animals reside in densely populated areas.

In communities with little resources, parasite infections are more prevalent because of the worsening effects of untreated infections and the spread of the disease.

In this case, parasites carried by cats and dogs can give people chronic and life-threatening infections.

There is a critical need to raise awareness of these illnesses and investigate how we might lessen the effects they have on both humans and animals.

Animal parasites

Particularly in Malaysia, about 89% of cats have flea infestations. These fleas can spread dangerous germs like Bartonella spp., which can lead to cat scratch illness in people. Fever, headaches, a lack of appetite, and tiredness are among symptoms.

Additionally, blood-feeding hookworms, which are among the most typical parasites to infect Asians, were found in roughly a quarter of the canines under study.

The fact that this species can infect, fully develop, and feed on blood in human intestines raises serious concerns because it can cause a variety of symptoms like anaemia, weight loss, and gastrointestinal pain.

Some of these hookworms can also penetrate human skin and creep there, leading to cutaneous larva migrans (CLM). Particularly in Malaysia, dogs may be a significant source of CLM transmission to people.

Last but not least, having sick or injured pets can have a serious negative effect on pet owners’ mental health. With our pets, we have such a special and close relationship. They serve as our confidantes, rock-solid allies, and dependable friends at times.

So, it should come as no surprise that their ailments might contribute to our lives’ stress, anxiety, and despair.

Putting prevention first

It’s always a good idea to provide a dog or cat a loving and secure home, but we also have a responsibility to promote improvements in the health and wellbeing of our furry family members.

The study found that neutered animals had a significantly lower risk of contracting parasites.

It’s interesting to note that pet owners who had longer lifespans also displayed a similar lower risk. This connection is probably due to easier access to veterinary treatments including immunisations and programmes for parasite detection and control.

Eventually, it comes down to better access to care and services, which should not be limited to only metropolitan regions.

Expanding access to veterinary care outside of the big urban centres is necessary if we are to create control methods that are successful. To bring about this transformation, pet owners, veterinarians, and health authorities must work together.

This kind of cooperative strategy has in the past led to quicker, more effective, and more synergistic efforts in other pet health and welfare sectors.

In the future, we can and expect to repeat this result in terms of parasite prevention. To begin with, pet owners should speak openly about parasite prevention and treatment with their vets.

Furthermore, collaborations between the public and private veterinary and animal health sectors are necessary to develop approachable teaching initiatives that will increase awareness, lower infection rates, and finally stop transmission to people.

An integrated strategy between local and international authorities is required in places with limited resources.

Reaching out to pet owners in this area will depend on direct communication, resource sharing, and building the infrastructure for veterinary treatment.

The lives of people and pets are ultimately profoundly and intricately intertwined.

The same passion that we have for improving human health should also be present in our commitment to preventing animal sickness.

We stand to benefit from increasing awareness and giving our pets’ health first priority by doing so.

By William D. Ricker

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