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(Sorry if I put this in the wrong section)

I would love to foster puppies, dogs, or even kittens, but one thing i'm worried about is diseases/infection that can spread to humans... I am a supreme germophobe and the idea of getting ringworm or something really freaks me out. Does anyone know how rare it is to get something like this from a foster, and if there are ways to minimize it?

This is honestly my biggest drawback, and I know my own pets can also pick up things and I don't want to end up with vet bills for something that didn't come from my own pet...

Next, I actually have a story of my experience at my local shelter. I was volunteering, and went to go to be 'trained' to handle the dogs and stuff. So I walk inside, and the lady takes me to where the dogs not available for adoption yet are. She goes into a room, and I wait outside. She comes out with this dog that looks like it has mange, it's lost practically all it's hair and it's body looks absolutely filthy. So she just shoves the dog into my arms (it was a small dog) and the little guy smelled terrible. I'm like, woah, okay.

So I ask if he has mange and she tells me his name. I normally would just go with that but I really wanted to know if the dog had mange because I dont want my dog at home to get it, so im like "oh, no, haha I said does he have mange?"

and she looks at me like I just asked her what color underwear she was wearing. I dont remember what she said exactly but it was a no.

Before we get to the door she stops and I get confused because I thought she was coming too. but she just stands there is like: "Okay, go have fun with him, he's really a great dog he could use some loves."

Sooo i'm like that was awkward. And I go outside and I kneel down to tighten his makeshift harness and he jumps up and sticks his tongue in my mouth. //cries

Oh my god. I love dogs but maybe volunteering and fostering just isnt for me if im gonna be so concerned about disease and infections. Is anyone else this way, or is this just me? And was I super awkward or was it just the lady I was working with. Or was it kinda both of us? LOL, I dont even know. Im just so sad because I really want to help animals but Im SO paranoid about germs. There HAS to be a way for me to help without wondering before I go to bed if me or my dog has caught something. :(
 

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you can also help the eninmals by donating money for specific dogs to get better vet care or even volunter to drive them to the vet.
you don't need to walk the dogs or have direct contact with them. :)
 
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There is a great deal that you can do to help dogs in your area that doesn't involve hands-on contact. Here's a link to a group that supports dogs at my local shelter:

https://www.facebook.com/Captain-Care-Capitán-Cuidado-Intervention-786295904736693/

Some of their activities include:

a) raising money for an upcoming spay-and-neutering event
b) bailing out dogs when low-income families can't afford to bring their lost pets home
c) providing vet care, food, and other forms of assistance to low-income families to help them keep their pets and not surrender them to the shelter
d) promoting the adoption of overlooked dogs through special "scholarships," (i.e. fee reductions)

I've supported this group through helping with recordkeeping, donations, and promoting their activities on FB. Other volunteers work directly with the families and their dogs.

As Mathilda said, there's a lot that you can do that doesn't involve going to the shelter and taking the dogs out.
 

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I've been involved in shelters since I was a kid and I've never gotten sick, nor gotten my animals sick from it. In terms of your own health, there are not many diseases that are transferable from dogs or cats to people. Yes, ringworm is one of them, as are some parasites but mostly if you keep things clean you'll be fine.

In terms of mange, there are two types, Demodex and sarcoptic. Only sarcoptic is contagious, but one of my dogs had it for a long time and his brother and none of the people in the house for it. Often times allergies and dermatitis can look like mange, and it is also not contagious. I've also had a dog in my home with the contagious parasite giardia, and with proper sanitation my dog did not catch it.

Your biggest concern would be respiratory issues and perhaps worms. But again, if you keep things clean and have your own animals vaccinated, this won't be a big issue.

That being said, you don't sound like someone who is comfortable in a shelter setting, or at least your shelter. Many foster animals do come to you with mild parasites or health issues that while easily cured, would probably send you into an emotional tail spin. If you desperately want to foster animals I would suggest going to a private foster rescue that screens their animals well and doesn't keep them in a shelter setting where diseases breed easier. Your only other options are doing hands off volunteering or seeking out some help for this germaphobia. I dated someone with this issue and it can be debilitating, especially if you have it at times other than when dealing with animals.
 

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I would say that patchy/gross skin is due to allergies 9/10 times in dogs. I would say that mange is relatively uncommon compared to allergic skin reactions in dogs.

And with regards to animal germs... Well, I am not a germophobe so bear that in mind. But I spend 2-4, often 6+ hours a day running around with dogs. My mother works 1 hour per day at a school. Want to know who gets sick more, by leaps and bounds? You guessed it :)

The vast majority of illnesses pets get don't really jump between species and even then, from a relative standpoint, I'd say that dogs contract bacterial and viral (even parasitic) infections far, far less than do humans. Humans are cesspits... Just think of the people that are exposed to crowded public transit, packed next to 20 other people sardine style, on a daily basis. Most dogs won't come into close contact with that many dogs at a time in their whole lifetime.

So in the grand scheme of things I bet you could eat out of your dog's bowl for a lifetime and not get as sick as much as you will simply from touching debit machine,s reading magazines at the doctor's office or opening mall doors.

Just putting things into perspective.
 

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It's pretty darn uncommon.

I'm a vet tech and come into contact with all sorts of yuck on a regular basis, including things that technically humans can get....Coccidia, giardia, worms, scabies, ringworm, all sorts of bacteria and fungus. I've never gotten any of them, nor have any of my personal dogs or cats. We do not have strict rules about wearing gloves to avoid transmission because it's so unusual.

Not sure if that helps or not. It's honestly not even something I think about!
 
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