Owners of dogs, cats and rabbits are advised to wash their hands and faces after playing with their pet because they are more susceptible to skin infection caused by zoophilic dermatophytes.
Chao Chao-ming (趙昭明) said most of his patients infected with zoophilic dermatophyte had been dog or cat owners at some point. However, he said he had recently seen five cases where the patients kept rabbits, which he attributed to the fact that this year is the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac.
Chao said the typical symptoms for people infected with zoophilic dermatophytes were a red rash on their face and hands, each about the size of a NT$10 coin. He said the rash could be itchy and that pustules could appear as well.
To treat the infection, Chao said dermatologists often applied antibiotics on the rash, adding that it took approximately two weeks for a patient to be completely healed.
“Most people do not know that these small animals also carry fungus, and if they kiss their pets or allow the pets to lick them without washing off the saliva, they could develop allergic reactions or dermatitis,” Chao said.
Chao said one way to help prevent zoophilic dermatophytes was to avoid allowing pets to climb into bed with them.
Meanwhile, they should also regularly ensure the hygiene of their pets.
“People with allergies should refrain from keeping pets,” he said.