Dr. Marty Becker on Diseases We Can Catch From Our Pets

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Dr. Marty Becker with Dr. Oz picture

Dr. Marty Becker, center, with Dr. Oz, right. ZoCo Productions LLC

Do you let your dog lick you on the mouth? That may not be such a wise thing to do. "Your mouth is such a portal for zoonotic diseases that the days of the 'canine tonsil swab' are over," veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker tells Paw Nation. "We can still love our dogs and hug them, but it's really not a good idea to let dogs kiss you on the mouth. Let 'em lick you on the cheek instead."

On Thursday's episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Becker (of "Good Morning America" fame) talks about diseases you can catch from your dogs and cats. "Because we're living more intimate lives with our pets – hugging and kissing our pets, and sleeping with them at night -- we're at more risk for catching certain zoonotic diseases from our dogs and cats," Dr. Becker tells Paw Nation.

Foremost among those diseases come from MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), parasites and ringworm. The bacteria MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics. A study found that a full 50% of the houses that researchers inspected had MRSA lurking on kitchen and faucet handles, drains, and on high chairs and trash cans. The common denominator was pet cats. "Cat owners are eight times more likely to have MRSA in their homes," says Dr. Becker. Moreover, the bacteria was "ping-ponging back and forth between humans and pets."

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