If your pet is sick, are you? Pets can be ‘health sentinels,’ vets say

dog and vet200259887-001.jpgWeAreCentralPA.com recently ran a story titled Pets Can Let You Know if You’re Sick.

The idea is that a pet’s illness can offer clues that lead to a diagnosis of the pet parent’s own illness.

Jennifer Adler, V.M.D., specialist in Veterinary Internal Medicine
Specialist at the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services
(CARES) Animal Hospital in Langhorne, PA, says since pets and humans
share the same spaces, a pet can also be a sentinel for other types of
environmentally-related human illnesses, such as Lyme disease or water
contamination.

This doesn’t mean the pet gave the human a disease, or vice versa — simply that they share the same environment and are exposed to the same pathogens.

In the video that accompanies the article, we meet pet parent Anne Kane, whose dog Lucy became very ill a few months
ago. “She was just curled up in a little ball under a table, which is
definitely not her,” Anne tells WTAJ, the local CBS news station.


Soon Lucy was hospitalized with
fever, dehydration and blindness. Dr. Adler took on her case.

A few days later, Anne was in the hospital
as well. Dr. Adler diagnosed Lucy with a rare
tick-borne bacterial infection called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), and thought Anne might have it too.

“It’s uncommon in pets, but it’s even less common in people,”
Dr. Adler tells WTAJ. “[Anne's doctor and I] compared notes between Lucy
and Anne and found out they had a lot of similarities.”

Both Lucy and Anne were treated and are recovering together.

Other ailments that
can affect both humans and the pets who share their environment include:

What’s probably even more widespread, however, are health problems related to obesity and inactivity. If your pet is not getting enough exercise, maybe you’re not either. This is not exactly lost on you, as our top pet-related New Year’s resolutions reveal!

If you’ve resolved to get fit with your pet in 2011, we’ve got some ways you can both get moving without going outside this winter.

You might also like:

Top pet-related New Year’s resolutions

Games for Pets: Indoor exercise for dogs to stay fit this winter

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