Category Archives: Animals

animals in general

Top 10 Ways to Reduce Zoonotic Diseases

Ways to Keep You and Your Family Safe from Zoonosis

What is a zoonotic disease?

Zoonotic diseases are diseases transmitted from animals to humans. Zoonotic diseases come in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungus, or parasites. There are over 250 zoonotic organisms, with only about 40 being transmitted from dogs and cats. The rest of the zoonotic organisms are transmitted from birds, reptiles, farm animals, wildlife, and other mammals. The good news is that a majority of zoonotic diseases can be prevented by following basic hygiene guidelines, as well as following routine veterinary care guidelines for your pet. The following is a list of the top ten ways you can reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases.

1. Wash your hands. This may sound like a simple thing to do, but the truth is, many people do not wash their hands when they should, or they do not wash for long enough. A quick rinse under the tap is far from adequate. Use soap and a constant stream of water, scrubbing for a minimum of 20 seconds. Have your kids sing the alphabet song for a good measure of scrubbing time. Wash hands before eating, after touching animals (particularly farm, petting zoo, or exotic species), after removing soiled clothing, after contact with soil, and after using the bathroom. Hand sanitizer is good at reducing the number of bacteria, but is inadequate for removing organic debris, which is where bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites can hide.

2. Manage the feces. Scoop the litterbox at least every 24 hours. There are particular organisms, including Toxoplasma gondii, which are shed in cat feces that do not become infective until after 24 hours. The same is true for various parasites found in dog feces. By scooping the litterbox or cleaning the yard daily, you are greatly reducing the number of parasites available for reinfection.

3. Avoid contact with wild animals. Wild animals, even cute baby bunnies, can carry several contagious organisms, yet seemingly appear to be healthy. Wild animals are just that, wild.

4. Have your bird tested for Psittacosis. Pet birds can carry an organism called Chlamydophila psittaci, also known as Psittacosis. This bacterium is shed in feces,ocular secretions, and nasal secretions of birds. Infection in people can be very serious.

5. Cover the sandbox. Stray or outdoor cats view your sandbox as a luxury sized litterbox. By keeping it covered when not in use, you are preventing cats from eliminating in the sand, thereby reducing the risk of serious conditions caused by hookworms and roundworms.

6. Use monthly heartworm preventive religiously. Many brands of heartworm preventive also contain dewormers. Dogs and cats are often times re-infected with intestinal parasites, several of which can be removed on a monthly basis by staying up to date on heartworm preventive.

7. Don’t eat or feed raw or undercooked meat. Cooking meat to the appropriate temperature is a sure step to prevent parasitic infection. Many types of parasitic larvae will inhabit the muscle of certain animals, just waiting to be ingested so they can develop into adult parasites.

8. Use flea and tick preventives. Fleas and ticks can carry a variety of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Your dog or cat, being lower to the ground, are at a higher risk of getting flea and tick infestations. By using flea and tick preventives, you are reducing the number of infectious disease carriers that enter your house.

9. Prevent your dog from drinking contaminated water. Water that has been contaminated by other animals, either by feces or urine, has the potential to contain a multitude of infectious organisms that your dog can then transmit to you. It is a good idea to bring a bowl and fresh water with you on your outdoor excursions.

10. Keep up on routine veterinary care. Routine veterinary care, including fecal tests, blood tests, and vaccinations, are very important and should not be ignored.  Consider it not only for your pet’s health, but also for the health of you and your family.

People who have a weakened or a compromised immune system, such as those who are receiving chemotherapy, who have AIDS, or who are chronically ill, are at a much higher risk of obtaining severe zoonotic diseases. Strict guidelines must be followed to reduce risk of zoonotic disease transmission. In some cases, this may include complete avoidance of farm animals, petting zoos, and exotic species.

There are countless benefits to owning a pet. By following these top ten guidelines, you will greatly reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases and help keep you and your family healthy.        Alex Molldrem, DVM

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Best Quotes about Animals and People

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

— Anatole France

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

— Roger Caras

I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.

— James Herriot

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.

— Milan Kundera

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.

— William Shakespeare (Henry V)

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

— Mahatma Gandhi

I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.

— Abraham Lincoln

The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.

— Henry Beston (The Outermost House)

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.

— Immanuel Kant

Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.

— A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.

— Samuel Butler

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.

— James Herriot

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.

— Samuel Butler

Animal Rescue: Animals are Optimistic

Rescued Animals Are Optimistic


All animals deserve love and care, especially those who have been neglected and left to fend for themselves. For all of those individuals who’ve rescued a lost, abandoned, or unappreciated animal, your kindness has not been overlooked and is making a bigger change than you may think.

A new study by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London has discovered that animals rescued from abuse and neglect, aren’t a lost cause. These animals can recover and in some cases have a more optimistic outlook on life compared to other animals.

As the first scientific study of rescued animals, 18 goats were observed – nine who had experienced a poor diet and lack of shelter, along with nine who had been treated well. Placing the goats in a spatial awareness test, the scientists observed how the two types of goats engaged in finding food in an area unknown to them.

Believing the well-treated goats would perform better, the scientists were surprised to discover that the positive treatment the neglected female goats received at the sanctuary, made them more optimistic.

“Mood can have a huge influence on how the brain processes information. In humans, for example, it’s well known that people in positive moods have an optimist outlook on life, which means they are more resilient to stress. In the same way, measures of optimism and pessimism can provide indicators for an understanding of animal welfare,” explains co-author Dr. Elodie Briefer from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

So even though our furry friends can’t literally thank us for our hospitality in their time of need, it’s their outlook on the future, after they’ve been cared for, that proves that we are making a difference in each rescued animals life one at a time.

Take a cue from Fiona, a rescued pooch from South Los Angeles. She was found blind, flea infested, and fending for herself, but after being rescued you can see in her demeanor and wagging tail how she’s come a long way from that parking lot she was found.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372