An in depth look by two California Veterinary doctors points out that our pets have the potential to transfer more than love through their sloppy kisses and night time snuggles.

After doing extensive research in medical journals, Bruno Chomel and Ben Sun made some striking discoveries as to what exactly can be found on an animals body.

Elizabeth Weise - USA TODAY

There's plague (yes, bubonic plague, i.e. the Black Death); chagas disease, which can cause life-threatening heart and digestive system disorders; and cat-scratch disease, which can also come from being licked by infected cats.

Though many people love getting licked or planting a kiss on a pet, it may not be such a good idea, the authors say.

The researchers found several cases of various infections transmitted this way.

"The risk is rare, but when it occurs it can be very nasty, and especially in immuno-compromised people and the very young," says Chomel, who specializes in zoonoses, the study of disease transmission between animals and humans.

Larry Kornegay, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, called the article "pretty balanced." These cases are "uncommon if not rare," but even so, pet owners should use common sense to reduce risks.

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