Zoonotic Diseases


Are you raising livestock? Do you have a backyard flock? Are you roommates with a reptile or do you enjoy the company of other four-legged furry friends? Then the following information is for you!

Animal companionship has many positive benefits for children and people of all ages. Connecting with animals is not only fun, but also important to our lives. For centuries, animals have provided comfort, companionship and survival to humans. However, there are some risks that can be associated with animals even if they appear healthy. Children and persons with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for complications from a zoonotic infection.

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans.  Contact with livestock, poultry, or reptiles could put you at risk for illness caused by Salmonella, E. coli, or influenza. Encounters with wild animals, or animal bites from wild animals such as skunks or bats, can put you at risk for rabies.

A few simple preventative measures will help keep you and your family healthy while you play or work with your favorite critters:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after handling animals or any part of their environment
  • Avoid touching your mouth after animal contact
  • Don't eat or drink around animals
  • Keep livestock and live poultry outside of the home
  • Supervise small children around animals

Spring 2021 Press Release: Live Poultry

Find out about rabies in Montana.

Learn more about animals at petting zoos.

Department of Livestock website.

United States Department of Agriculture: Resources and videos to keep a healthy flock. 

Get more information on CDC's comprehensive website: Healthy Pets, Healthy People.

pets and farm animals