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‘Owners Catching TB from Pets’ – Front Page News

Posted by Lyndon Basha in News | Article permalink on Mar 29 2014

Over the last couple of days it has been widely reported in the press about people becoming infected with TB from their pets.

We thought it would be appropriate to provide a ‘balanced’ view of the risks to you and your pet.

What are the chances my pet has TB?

Only a small number of M. bovis infections (bovine TB) are recorded in pets, mostly cats. M. bovis infection is rarely recorded in dogs. Cats, dogs and other pets can sometimes develop TB caused by other mycobacteria.

How do I know if my pet has TB and what can I do to check?

If your pet is infected with TB it may show signs of disease which include:

  • Coughing.
  • Wheezing and/or weight loss.
  • Lumps, abscesses or bite wounds which fail to heal, especially those around the head and neck.

The clinical signs of TB infection in pets are not unique and can be similar to other infections.  If you have any suspicions, please contact us for further advice.  If we suspect that your pet has TB, the only way to confirm is by laboratory testing.

Risk of you Becoming Infected from your Pet

TB can be spread from animals to humans but the risk of you or your family becoming infected from your pet is considered to be very low.

How can my pet get TB?

Pets can become infected in a number of ways including:

  • ingestion (by mouth), for example by drinking unpasteurised infected cow’s milk or eating carcases of infected animals.
  • aerosols (breathing in) which could arise from close contact with infected farm animals, wildlife or other infected pets.
  • bite wounds, either from being bitten by an infected animal or if a wound gets infected by bacteria present in the environment.

Want More Information?

If you have any suspicions please contact us on 02085998544 for advice.

We also recommend this information leaflet provided by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.