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Pets provide many benefits to humans. They comfort us and they give us companionship. However, some animals can also pass diseases to people. These diseases are called zoonoses.

Although animals can carry germs, it is important to know that you are more likely to get some of these germs from contaminated food or water than from your pet or another animal you encounter. CDC has created this Web site to provide you with information about the health-related risks of owning and caring for animals. We encourage you to follow the links located throughout this Web site for general information about companion and wild animals and the diseases they can carry.

Many groups encourage people to enjoy the benefits of common household pets. By following CDC's simple tips on the Healthy Pets, Healthy People Web site, you can enjoy your pets while protecting yourself against diseases they carry.

Because wild animals can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, CDC discourages direct contact with wildlife. You should never adopt wild animals as pets or bring them home. Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if the animals appears to be friendly.

What's Inside?

Browse by Animal
Can my pet make me or other people sick? Learn what diseases your pet and other animals can carry. Tips on how to keep yourself, your family, and your pets healthy are included.

Browse by Disease
What diseases can animals carry? Learn about diseases that animals can pass to people.

Prevention Tools

Advice for People at Extra Risk
Some people are more likely than others to get diseases from animals. If you have young children, are pregnant, have HIV/AIDS, have received an organ transplant, or are being treated for cancer, these recommendations will help you avoid getting sick from animals.

For Health Professionals
Attention health professionals! Physicians, nurses, community health care workers, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians can easily educate people about prevention of pet-related diseases by using CDC's ready-to-print Pet-scriptions.

Find additional resources, including articles, selected local organizations, information hotlines, brochures, posters, and links to other Web sites, on how to have healthy pets and and remain free of pet-related diseases.

Contact Us
Send us questions or comments about our Healthy Pets, Healthy People Web site.

What's New?

Information on Zoonotic Roundworm Infection (Toxocara Infection)

Spotlight on Turtles

Reptiles and Salmonella

2007 Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings

two girls holding puppies

* Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

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Page last modified: November 5 , 2007
Content source: National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (ZVED)