You can safeguard the lives of pets and their families by discussing zoonotic diseases and prevention. Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member Gina Toman, a veterinary assistant at Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C., offers this script
to broach the topic with clients:
You: The term zoonosis describes a disease or infection that can pass from animals to people. Parasites like roundworms and hookworms
can cause these types of infections, so it's important to protect your family with proper parasite prevention.
Client: I had no idea our family was at risk for parasites, too.
You: Actually, children are more likely to become infected because they play where pets might eliminate, like playgrounds and
parks. Children also go barefoot more often and wash their hands less frequently. But anyone can bring parasites into your
home if there's infected waste on a shoe.
Client: What can happen if a person contracts a zoonotic disease?
You: Parasites can cause rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, blindness in children, or illness, like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted
fever. Parasites can also penetrate skin tissue and damage intestines and other organs.
Client: What can I do to protect my pet and family?
You: Here's what our practice recommends to keep your pet and your family healthy ...