Three Diseases Shared By Dogs and Cats

Today, we're going to tell you about three diseases that dogs and cats can share. Keep reading to learn more about these illnesses.
Three Diseases Shared By Dogs and Cats

Last update: 24 May, 2019

There are some diseases that are inherent to specific species. However, there are other diseases shared among animals of different species. In today’s article, we’ll tell you about three diseases that both dogs and cats can suffer from. 

Can dogs and cats have the same illnesses?

This is a very common question among people who have more than one pet at home. It’s also important information for those who are thinking about bringing a new member home. Are there diseases shared by cats and dogs? Can a cat infect a dog and vice versa?

A cat and dog at the vets.

The answer to both these questions is ‘yes.’ That’s because the two species have common ancestors. Dogs and cats belong to the Mammalia class (because of their mammary glands) and to the carnivorous order (meaning their bodies are adapted to ingesting meat).

Evolution has ‘separated’ them into two different species with their own characteristics. However, they still have common characteristics. That’s why there are some diseases that are typical for one and not the other, but there are also some diseases shared by both of them. Everything depends on the type of virus, bacteria, or fungus that develops inside the animal. 

Three diseases shared by dogs and cats

When a new member of the family arrives at your house, it’s essential to know its medical history. This is basic health care, even if you already have other pets. However, if you don’t have access to much of his medical history, you should isolate the newcomer until he gets all of his vaccines and necessary treatments. The three diseases shared by dogs and cats are:

1. Internal parasites

These tend to show up within the first days of the animal’s life. They usually show up in abandoned or stray animals that don’t receive adequate veterinary attention.

The main symptoms of this disease are bulging bellies and constant appetite (which doesn’t decrease after eating). When the pets get their vaccinations, they begin to expel the parasites through their feces.

The problem is that, for example, dogs can eat cat droppings and then get infected. The main diseases related to parasites for dogs and cats are: Strongyloides (threadworm), heartworms, tapeworms, trichuris, hookworms and ascarids. 

2. Skin diseases

These two animals have fairly similar fur. Although cats are more ‘hygienic’ than dogs, they can also get certain skin diseases caused by fungi or mites.

The most common types shared between these two species are Sarcoptic mange (this mainly attacks dogs and is caused by the Sarcoptes Scabiei), otodectic scabies (appears in the ears and affects cats more) and demodectic mange (caused by parasites). These can all pass from one animal to another.

Another related disease is Cheyletiellosis (or ‘walking dandruff’ caused by Cheyletiella). There are also Malassezia pachydermatis (found on the mucous surfaces of dogs and passes to immunosuppressed cats) and fleas (different species attack cats and dogs, but can affect both animals equally).

3. Rabies

Two animals are laying together.

This is the main disease that can affect both cats and dogs. That’s because a cat with this disease can infect a dog, and vice versa. This viral, infectious and acute condition affects all mammals (both domestic and wild). It attacks the central nervous system. If you don’t treat it in time, it can lead to death. 

It’s important to observe your pet’s secretions and saliva. Additionally, you should be careful of bites from other animals, since that’s the main form of contagion. It’s usually less common for a cat to get rabies, unless it’s bitten by a sick or wild dog and its immune system is weakened.

It’s very important to keep up with your pet’s vaccinations if you want to keep him from getting sick, or from infecting other animals.

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