One thing holds consistent across the numerous worlds of science fiction and fantasy: everyone speaks the same language. Whether it's Lojban, English, Common, or the High Tongue of the Autumn Empire; there's one language that everyone knows, unless plot demands otherwise.
Do not gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. Matthew 6:19 KJV
Animals have parasites and diseases, so do plants, there are even bacteria that cann dissolve oil spills or plastic or what have you - why couldn't there be a disease living off magic - a magic item could be infected, losing power and speading the plague to other equipment it contacts, while a magic user would slowly lose his powers and contaminate all he works with or casts a spell at...