Cat scratch disease -- Also known as “cat scratch fever,” this flea-borne infection is typically transmitted from a cat’s scratch or bite. Signs include pimples at the scratch site and swollen lymph nodes that may persist for six weeks or longer.
Ehrlichiosis – Transmitted by ticks, this bacterial disease can cause fever, muscle aches, vomiting and other, more serious symptoms. As many as half of all patients require hospitalization.
Giardia – People and pets are infected when they drink water containing the parasite Giardia Iamblia. You can also become infected by putting something in your mouth that has come into contact with a pet’s stool. Signs include diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea.
Leptospirosis – “Lepto” is a bacterial disease spread by contact with urine from an infected animal, including dogs, raccoons, squirrels and skunks. Lepto can cause high fever, severe headache, vomiting and, if left untreated, kidney damage or liver failure.
Lyme disease -- Spread by ticks, Lyme disease can cause arthritis and kidney damage in both people and dogs. The number of Lyme disease cases has nearly tripled since 1990, and the disease is now found in every state.
Rabies -- This well-known disease is caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals and transmitted to pets and people by bites. It is invariably fatal if not promptly treated.
Ringworm -- Ringworm is a fungal infection -- not a worm -- transmitted by contact with the skin or fur of an infected dog or cat. Signs include a bald patch of scaly skin on the scalp, or a ring-shaped, itchy rash on the skin. Rocky Mountain spotted fever -- A very serious, tick-borne disease that causes fever, headache, muscle pain, followed by a rash. May be fatal if left untreated.
Toxoplasmosis -- This is a parasitic disease spread by contact with cat feces in soil or litter, although the major route to transmission is contaminated meat. It can cause serious health problems in pregnant women or in people with compromised immune systems.