Ask the expert.. Mar-Apr 2007

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Dr. K. G. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for south Asia.

Q : Which are the common feline zoonotic diseases and how can they be prevented?
– Lt Col DV Nehra, Jaipur
Dr. K G Umesh : Ringworm is probably the most common zoonosis of cats and causes scaly, itchy patches on skin. Other diseases include toxoplasmosis; viral infections like rabies, cowpox; bacterial diseases like cat scratch disease, DF-2 infections, lyme disease, plague, salmonellosis, shigellosis etc. Besides, there are parasitic diseases like amebiasis, cryptospororidosis, giardiasis, creeping eruption, scabies, etc.
Most cases of human infections can be prevented by practicing good personal hygiene, eliminating parasites through regular deworming and regular vaccination and by providing them clean environment.  Keep cats off kitchen surfaces and wash your hands regularly. Make sure your cat’s litter box always has enough litter in it.  Remove the soiled litter immediately and change the litter completely at least once a week. Wash the box thoroughly with water and some dishwashing liquid. Generally, cats do their grooming alone but you can also participate by combing their coat with a fine comb and brush that help to prevent tangles and hairballs. Also, make sure that your cat has regular check-ups.

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