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Zoonosis: Diseases Acquired from Pets

A Term Paper
Presented to the
High School Department
St. Bridget College

In Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements in
English IV

Daniela Erika B. Inandan

February 2008
Table of Contents

Chapter One

Introduction 1

Statement of the Problem 2

Purpose of the Study 2-3

Significance of the Study 3

Definition of Terms 3-4

Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature 5-7

Bibliography 8
Chapter One


It was a thousand of years ago since animals have been kept as pets by people in all parts

of the world. And the legacy of taking care of pets is being passed from generation to generation

as if it is a part of human tradition. From common pets like dogs, cats, birds, and fishes, many

have evolved their interest into unusual pets such as reptiles, amphibians, and even insects.

Almost every family owns a pet usually treated as a member since pet care is

reciprocated by unconditional love, comfort, companionship, a peek at life’s lessons, oneness

with the beauty of nature, and healing for the soul. To reward these beloved creatures, pet

owners go through lengths just to give them healthy food, a good shelter, nice accessories and

the best medical attention.

In spite the fact that pets generate immense benefits, one should look and be aware at its

potential disadvantages. One of them is the diseases transmitted by pet to their owners generally

known as “zoonosis” which this paper will discuss.

Statement of the Problem

The paper aims to seek knowledge and understanding about zoonosis through the

following questions:

1. What are the reasons for having pets?

2. What kind of treatment should be given to pets?

3. How are pets being abused?

4. What positive effects can pets cause to their owners?

5. What common disadvantages can pet ownership cause?

6. What are the common diseases human acquire from pets?

7. How are these diseases being acquired?

8. How are these diseases being cured or treated?

9. How are these diseases being prevented?

10. How can one keep himself and his pets healthy?

Purpose of the Study

The goal of the research study is to intently discuss the following matters:

1. Identify the factors causing a person to own a pet

2. Identify the proper ways of dealing with pets

3. Explain and identify the ways on how pets are abused

4. Enumerate the advantages of pets to their owners

5. Enumerate the potential disadvantages of pet ownership

6. Enumerate the different zoonotic diseases

7. Explain how zoonotic diseases are transmitted

8. Identify the different ways of treating zoonotic diseases

9. Identify the different ways of preventing zoonotic diseases

10. Identify the ways of keeping an owner and his pet in good health condition

Significance of the Study

The research study consisting facts and ideas about zoonosis is a good tool in promoting

a responsible pet ownership and awareness to public health since it can encourage people to

undergo several precautions preventing them and their pets from having contagious diseases. The

information this paper contains can guide the pet-lovers and inform people against erroneous

details and rumors.

Definition of Terms

The following words are defined and characterized for further understanding.

Avian tuberculosis - a chronic wasting disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium

Campylobacteriosis - a leading cause of intestinal disease in people. Puppies and kittens can

serve as a source of infection for humans.

Cat Scratch Fever - a disease thought to be transmitted to humans by the scratch or bite of a cat

and characterized by fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Chlamydiosis - a bacterial disease anyone can get by inhaling dust from dried bird droppings.

Cryptosporidiosis - a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites of the genus


Giardiasis - an infectious diarrheal disease caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia, which can be

transmitted through oral-fecal contact and by water contaminated by feces.

Immunocompromised - a suppressed immune system

Leptospirosis - a bacterial disease can be acquired from handling infected urine or by putting

your hands to your mouth after touching anything that has come into contact with infected dog.

Mycobacterium marinum - a slowly growing bacterium that cause disease in fish and people.

Neutering - the removal of an animal's reproductive organ. It is the most drastic surgical

procedure with sterilizing purposes. The process is also referred to as castration, or gelding in

male horses; while the process in females is also called spaying.

Q- Fever - an infectious disease that spreads from animals to humans caused by a microbe called

"Coxiella burnetii."

Rabies - a viral infection caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals and is

transmitted to pets and humans by bites.

Salmonellosis - an illness caused by a bacterium found in raw food, soil, water and the bowel

movements of some animals, including reptiles.

Toxoplasmosis - an infectious disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii that can be

transmitted by infected humans and animals, especially cats, often by contact with feces.

Zoonotic diseases - diseases that can be transmitted to people by animals.

Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature

Throughout history and all over the world, animals have brought love, laughter, and

companionship to the people whose lives they share. In addition, they serve useful purposes.

Dogs hunt and guard property, cats keep homes and barns free from mice and rats, pets such as

frogs and toads help keep garden free from certain kinds of insects.

According to Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, “. . . We can judge the heart of a

man by his treatment of animals” (48). Animals should be treated impartially since God created

them equally with humans. Supposedly, those who abuse their beloved pets are unaware that

they’re doing it. Dogs are usually chained the whole day in the garage or kept in cages barely big

enough for them to stand in. Cats are not sent to the to the veterinarians to be spayed or neutered,

instead, kittens are separated from their mother and thrown into garbage or abandoned in a

vacant lot, park, or sidewalk. When sick, instead of taking the pets to the veterinarian, they are

given drugs formulated for humans.

Dr. Maria Vivien C. Manalastas, Makati City Veterinary Office (MCVO) chief,

emphasized that properly taking care of pets include providing them their primary needs like

food, shelter, and water. Likewise, they should be given a 30-minute daily exercise and check-up

at least once a year. There is also a need for neutering to control animal population and secure

pet’s health (64).

Bonding with pets has many beneficial consequences. Psychologists say that when people

do something good, such as helping other creatures survive, endorphins are released by the brain,

encouraging a pleasant disposition. People who keep animals under their loving care are known

to have lower blood pressure, lesser chances of depression and lower risks for heart disease. By

caring for pets, children learn responsibility over simple feeding and cleaning of the animal and

its surroundings. It also promotes alertness and attentiveness; traits which will later help the kids

cope with real life situations. In addition, having fun time with pets can mean spending quality

time with other family members as well.

There are many benefits of having a companion animal and these benefits often outweigh

the disadvantages of pet ownership. Those who have limited incomes cannot afford the costs for

feeding, grooming, and veterinary care for a pet. Uncontrolled animals can cause property

damage to neighbours and to the community. The death of pet may cause the owner to be

overwhelmed with grief as if he/she had lost a human companion.

Pets provide many things to their owners: love, attention, entertainment, company, and as

well as infection. [Italics mine.] These infections that may lead to serious risks and are shared by

people and animals are termed zoonoses. [Italics mine.]

Poor sanitary habits may lead to the ingestion of animal waste products and transmission

of zoonotic disease. Fecal waste is a source of many bacterial and parasitic infections, and even

urine contamination can lead to disease. Ingestion of undercooked foods, skin contact with

infectious agents and bite wound or scratches are all potential means of zoonotic transmission.

Infections associated with cat and dog contact are rabies, cryptosporidium,

campylobacter, and giardia. Reptiles such as snakes, lizards, and turtles are the major source of

salmonellosis. Diseases from birds include chlamydiosis (psittacosis), and avian tuberculosis

(bird flu); from fishes, mycobacterium marinum.

Treatment for a specific infection depends on the diagnosis and may include antibiotics,

anti-parasitic drugs, or anti-fungal drugs; intravenous fluids, symptomatic care for associated

conditions (e.g. vomiting, diarrhea), and analgesic (pain) medication.

According to Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Scholar, “Prevention is better than cure” (64). It

may sound cliché but the risks of contracting an infection can be minimized by following some

preventive measures.

Pets younger than six months old and of unknown sources, stray animals, wild birds,

reptiles, and amphibians should be avoided as much as possible since they are more likely to

carry diseases that could make one ill.

Good household management, proper hygiene, and sanitation when handling pets and

their excretions will significantly reduce the risks of acquiring infections. Proper education and a

good understanding of the disease and its method of transmission are vital part of a home and

preventative care.


Ang, Danny. “Lessons from the Bird Flu Scare”. Animal Scene. Volume 7 No 5. July 2007. 64

Cruz, Neal. “Animals Have Rights, Too”. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Volume 16 No 299.

5 October 2001. A-8.

Dela Cruz, Nathaniel. “Pet Under Threat”. Animal Scene. Volume 7 No 5. July 2007. 22.

Encarta World Dictionary. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 1999. 1410.

Johnson, Kathleen Anne. “Makati Pushes Pet Ownership Drive”. Animal Scene. Volume 7 No 1.

December 2007. 64.

Merriam Webster Collegiate Encyclopedia. Merriam Webster Inc., 2000. 1251-1252.

Sia, Albie. “Quotable Quotes”. Animal Scene. Volume 7 No 1. March 2001. 46, 48, 50.

“The Joy of Caring for Animals”. Animal Scene. Volume 6 No 8. October 2006. 43.

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The World Book Encyclopedia. Volume15. World Book Inc., 1991. 319-322.