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Animals & Your Health

Animals, domestic or wild, can be the source of diseases that may affect people.

Diseases transmitted through animal contact are called zoonotic diseases. For more information about this type of disease, see:

When you come in contact with pets, companion animals, farm animals, animals at petting zoos or wildlife, there are potential risks to your health.

For a government veterinary service, see: 

  • Animal Health Centre (BC government unit that diagnoses, monitors and works to control and prevent animal disease in BC)

Pets & companion animals

Having pets home can pose health hazards. It is common for dogs and cats to nuzzle and lick their owners, and many sleep in the same bed as their owners. Given the very close contact between pets and people, it is easy to see how infection could be transmitted between them. Preventing infection is especially important for certain groups, such young children and immunocompromised people.

For detailed information about what to think about when getting various types of pet, how to take care of them while protecting your health and diseases associated with pets, see:

For detailed information on the role of pets in human disease, with downloadable documents in various languages, as well as information on specific zoonotic diseases, see:  

Petting zoos & farm animals

For detailed information on petting zoos and open farm visits, with downloadable documents in various languages, as well as information on specific zoonotic diseases, see: 


Like domestic animals, wildlife can be the source of diseases that can affect us. Usually these diseases are transmitted by parasites, such as ticks, or through contact with animal droppings. More rarely, humans can be injured by wild animals, although in most human-animal conflicts it is the wild animal which ends up suffering the most.

For detailed information wildlife health, including wildlife diseases (and the field guide Diseases you can get from wildlife: a field-guide for hunters, trappers, anglers and biologists), how to stay healthy around wildlife and how to report sick or dead animals, see:

For a quick reference on how to dispose of a dead bird, see:

SOURCE: Animals & Your Health ( )
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