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When your friend's dog bit you, you went to the hospital for treatment. Your primary concern was to stop the bleeding and get some stitches, so you didn't think much else would come from the emergency room visit. it wasn't long until you were being asked questions about the animal's vaccines and state of health.

Why does it matter? Zoonotic illnesses are one of the reasons why animal bites are so dangerous. These illnesses can pass from animals to humans, which makes them particularly hazardous. As of 2017, there are at least 48 diseases that people can get from bites from animals that have been bitten by certain bugs. There are at least 39 important diseases that people can catch from animals directly.

Some of the common zoonotic illnesses you may be aware of include rabies, West Nile Disease and the Bubonic Plague. Out of these, the most feared disease is probably rabies, even though there are only one or two cases in the United States each year. There are actually several zoonoses that are important due to their severity without treatment. These include rabies, the plague, anthrax, listeria, tularemia and monkeypox.

While these are serious diseases, they're unlikely even if you're bitten by a stray dog or scratched by a stray cat. It's more likely that you'll come down with an illness like cat-scratch fever, which has the potential to be very serious if not treated. Roundworm is another illness you can catch from pets, although a bite isn't necessary to transfer worms necessarily.

Zoonotic illnesses can potentially kill, so it's important to receive vaccinations and treatments to prevent them from worsening. After you're treated, it's possible to seek compensation from your friend or his or her insurance company to cover your expenses.

Source: WebMD, "Diseases From Animals: A Primer," Daniel J. DeNoon, accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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