Skip to main content
In the City of Seattle, it is legal to keep one miniature potbellied pigs per household provided that it weighs 150 pounds or less and is spayed or neutered. It is important to thoroughly wash hands after contact with pigs or their fecal material to avoid infection with diseases that can be spread via fecal-oral contact.
Campylobacteriosis is an infection of the intestines caused by a bacterium called Campylobacter. The bacteria is commonly found in the feces of infected animals and in food products contaminated with the bacteria during processing or preparation. Raw or undercooked chicken is one of the most common sources of human infection.
Cryptosporidiosis is caused by infection with a tiny parasite called Cryptosporidium parvum. The parasite produces cysts (eggs), which are passed in the stool of infected people or animals. The cysts can survive for 2 – 6 months in moist environments and are commonly found in lakes and streams. The parasite is spread by the fecal-oral route. People and animals can get infected when drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food, or by direct contact with infected persons or animals. About 50% of dairy calves are infected and shed cysts. Infection can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps. The disease is self-liming in healthy people, but can be prolonged and more serious in persons with weakened immune systems.
Influenza, better known as the "flu", is a viral disease that affects humans and many animals. It most commonly causes a fever and breathing problems. There are three groups of viruses, identified as influenza types A, B, and C. Influenza type A is the primary group affecting both humans and animals. Within influenza type A, there are many different subtypes. Most only certain animal species (e.g., poultry), but some subtypes may affect more than one species (e.g., birds, pigs and humans.)
- Leptospirosis + Leptospirosis in dogs fact sheet
Leptospirosis in people: Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria called Leptospira that infect both people and a wide range of animals. It occurs worldwide but is more common in temperate and tropical areas of the world. Some people infected with leptospirosis will have no symptoms at all, and some people will become severely ill. Some wild and domestic animals, such as cattle, pigs, dogs, raccoons, and rodents, carry the Leptospira bacteria and pass them in their urine. Soil or water contaminated with infected urine is the most common route of human infection.
In late 2004 King County began to see an increase in leptospirosis in dogs. Between 2004 and 2008, 110 confirmed or probable canine cases with 37 fatalities were reported to the King County Zoonotic Disease Program. A horse and one cat were also reported. Fortunately, no King County residents are known to have become infected during this outbreak. However, people could potentially get the infection from the same environmental sources as dogs (contaminated soil or water), and people in contact with an infected dog could get the disease through exposure to the dog's urine.
While nearly all human rabies in the U.S. is associated with bat strain rabies, rabies in domestic animals remains a concern. Cats are the domestic animal most likely to be diagnosed with rabies in the U.S. In 2009, 300 cases in cats were reported as compared to 81 dogs, 74 cattle, and 41 horses and mules. These cases represent domestic animals bitten and infected by wildlife. King County regulations require that all cats be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age and immunity maintained by booster vaccinations.
Ringworm is a skin disease that can affect people and many kinds of animals. It is not caused by a worm at all, but rather by fungus that can grow in the skin. Ringworm on a person's head usually shows as a bald patch of scaly skin and elsewhere it can cause a red, ring-shaped rash that may be itchy. Dogs and cats, especially kittens, can have ringworm and spread it to people by direct contact with the pet's fur. Spores of the ringworm fungus can survive for a long time on carpet, furniture and other surfaces and cause infections. People can also get ringworm from other people and their personal items like combs.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection of the intestines caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella. The bacteria are shed in the stool of infected animals and humans. Infection can happen when a person eats food or drinks water or milk that has been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Infection with Salmonella can cause serious disease especially in children younger than 5 years of age and persons with weakened immune systems.
Yersiniosis is a disease caused by infection with a bacterium called Yersinia enterocolitica. Infection can cause fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea that may last from 1 to 3 weeks. Young children are more likely than adults to become sick. The bacterium is spread by the fecal-oral route from infected people or animals or by eating pork that is undercooked or by drinking contaminated milk. Usually people get sick from infected pigs, but other animals such as cats, dogs, horses, cows, rodents and rabbits can also carry this disease.