Zoonotic Disease Prevention


Teach safe hygiene and handling practices to prevent employees, pets and customers from getting sick.

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that can be transmitted between and among humans and animals. These are caused by viruses and other microorganisms, such as parasites, bacteria and fungi. Just having a sick animal rub against a habitat or housing unit could spread a microorganism to other livestock in the store. Proper handling of animals and proper hygiene for animals and humans are essential to keep employees, pets and customers safe and healthy.

This chapter explains how various zoonotic diseases spread, the symptoms in animals and humans associated with the diseases, and the steps to take to prevent them. Students will learn to become familiar with the daily behaviors of the pets you sell so they can recognize what’s normal and what could be a symptom of potential illness.

After completing this chapter, associates should be able to:

  • Demonstrate how to properly wash hands and safely handle pets.
  • Explain precautions to take during and after store special events.
  • Recognize stressful environments that can reduce pets’ resistance to disease.
  • Describe what to look for when visually inspecting pets for disease.
  • Identify changes in behavior that could indicate pet health issues, such as activity level, appetite, urination and bowel movements.
  • Recognize diseases that can be transmitted between and among humans and animals.
  • List the tasks involved to clean and sanitize different types of animal habitats.
  • Maintain pet health records and report sick animals or employees to the store manager.

The Zoonotic Disease Prevention chapter presents various pet-store scenarios that demonstrate why it’s important to have procedures in place to report and follow-up when disease is suspected. Topics include observing animals for diseases; and hygiene and handling guidelines for dogs, cats, small animals, fish, birds and reptiles. Specific microorganisms that affect each pet category are covered in detail.

This chapter has four required sections about general hygiene, handling, reporting and customer education. The chapter also includes six optional sections about zoonotic diseases in specific animal groups. Students should take the four required sections as well as the optional sections for the animals that are in your store.*

Estimated time to complete:

  • Online chapter required sections  1 hour
  • Online chapter all sections            3.5 hours
  • Chapter test                                    10 minutes

*Note: For the chapter status to automatically be changed to “Completed” in a student’s Assignments list, the student must view every section. If a student needs to take only some sections, an owner or manager can manually change the chapter status to “Completed”. For more information, see the Quick Start Guide chapter in the Manager track.

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