Asthma

Just as exposure to animal fur can inflame eczema, it can also add to asthma problems.

Asthma is a common respiratory condition that is normally treated effectively through the use of inhalers. However, the condition can escalate into a full asthma attack, which is very dangerous and can be fatal.

There is a high linkage between people suffering from asthma and eczema and being allergic to animal hair and saliva. While cats and dogs are the most common culprits, asthma sufferers may suffer an allergic reaction to a wide range of animals, including mice, rats, rabbits, and horses.

Regular vacuuming, avoiding excessive skin to fur contact, and choosing animals species that aren't heavy molters may minimize the effects.

However, where animal allergens are contributing to persistent and severe asthma, the best course of action may be to find a new home for your pets.

But even if your pet doesn't have any fur, there are still risks ...

pet turtle in child's hand

Salmonellosis

With animal hair a common allergen, there may be a temptation to move away altogether from mammals as pets.

A common choice therefore might have been to opt for a tortoise, lizard, or snake. However, these exotic reptilian pets also pose a health hazard, namely the threat of salmonellosis.

Salmonellosis is an infective disease and can be transmitted from more conventional pets such as dogs and cats. With reptiles, the salmonella bacteria can be transmitted directly from their skin and can cause a range of nasty symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.

Some simple precautions can minimize the risk of infection. For example, it is recommended that reptile owners wash their hands following contact, and that they don't allow children to put the reptiles in their mouth or kiss them!

Last up, Polly want a cracker?

blue macaw parrot

Parrot fever

It's not just four-legged animals that can cause health risks for their human owners.

Parrots are popular pets, much loved for their intelligence and personality. However, birds such as parrots and macaws can pass on an infection called psittacosis. As that's a bit of a mouthful, the disease is often referred to instead as parrot fever.

Parrot fever is a pneumonia caused by the chlamydia bacteria, and typical symptoms include fever, diarrhea, and severe headaches. Although rarely fatal, it can be a serious condition and treatment with antibiotics is often prescribed.

The transmission of the disease from birds to humans is facilitated through handling a sick bird or cleaning its cage.