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Old 11-27-2006, 07:45 PM
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misticaleclipse misticaleclipse is offline
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Default Watch out, your pet is going to make you sick!

I just have to hear peoples opinions on this article!

Quote:
Pets can pose health risks, should be chosen with care, experts say
Published: Monday, November 27, 2006 | 12:46 PM ET
Canadian Press: HELEN BRANSWELL

TORONTO (CP) - Ah, people and their pets. The two are often inseparable, with emotional ties nearly as tight as those between a parent and a young child, or between life partners.

Few other relationships feature such a high degree of physical contact. Slobbering kisses. Frequent caresses. Sometimes even the sharing of a pillow at bedtime.

But chances are you don't let your toddler scarf back dog dung on a trip to the park, your husband doesn't shed Salmonella bacteria and your wife doesn't lap water from the toilet bowl before settling down beside you in bed.

There are some health perils to owning pets - a fact many pet owners seem to prefer to ignore, often choosing unbridled affection over hygiene.

"People treat them like kids," says Dr. Bruno Chomel, an expert in zoonoses - the diseases that pass from animals to humans - in the school of veterinary medicine at the University of California at Davis.

"A healthy pet is a good pet. And I think the message here is that if you are taking good care of your pet, if it's regularly checked by a veterinarian, the risks are pretty low."

"On the other hand, yes, you are dealing with live organisms here. And they may bring back and carry home dirty stuff."

The list is impressive, ranging from skin conditions like ringworm to diarrhea-causing bugs like Salmonella, Campylobacter and maybe C. difficile to more exotic and health-threatening ailments like leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis and monkeypox, an animal cousin of smallpox.

"There's a litany of diseases that can affect people and pets," says Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinarian and scientist at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.

"And they don't happen very often. But they do happen enough."

Weese specializes in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria between humans and animals. He has just published a report of a domestic cat in California found to be carrying a dangerous strain of the superbug MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The cat's owner was colonized with identical bacteria from the sometimes fatal strain, called USA300.

Despite the fact he researches - and gives talks on - the health risks associated with companion animals, Weese if very pro-pet. "In the cost-benefit analysis, I think the benefit greatly exceeds the cost in the vast, vast majority of situations," he says.

But he and other veterinarians are also realistic about what their charges can carry. And they think pet owners - or would-be pet owners - should know which animals spread what and to whom, and tailor their pet choices accordingly.

Some also think humans ought to impose a few limits on their interactions with their pets.

"I'm not a big advocate for dogs licking faces. That's just not appropriate," says Dr. Jeff Bender, director of the program for veterinary population medicine in the school of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Chomel cites a report in the medical literature of a woman who developed septicemia, a blood infection, after allowing her dog to lick her surgical incision. Apparently, there are people who believe dog saliva has curative properties.

Chomel isn't one of them. "I don't think that being licked by a pet is the best thing. That's all I can say."

Pregnant women need to be careful around cat droppings, which can carry toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can infect the fetus, causing birth defects or triggering a miscarriage.

Reptiles, notorious for shedding Salmonella, aren't a good choice for households with young children, notorious for putting dirty fingers - and many other things - into their mouths.

Likewise, reptiles are a health risk in long-term care facilities. As with most pathogens, Salmonella exposure is most likely to lead to illness in the young, the old and people whose immune systems have been weakened by chemotherapy, HIV or some other medical conditions.

Just as young children can be potent incubators for bacteria and viruses, puppies and kittens seem to shed more germs when they become infected - making them a questionable pet choice for young children or the elderly.

"In households where you have concern about disease transmission, it might not fit to bring those animals in," Bender says.

"But who wants those animals, those puppies and kittens? It's young kids. So you have to kind of weigh the risks and the benefits."

The more exotic the pet, the more exotic the things you can catch from it, as shown in 2003 by an outbreak of monkeypox in the United States. Pet prairie dogs became infected in the pet distribution chain when they came in contact with imported Gambian rats. The prairie dogs in turn infected about 70 people in six states.

"When you look at a dog and a cat and probably a rabbit, we know about them pretty much. We know what infectious diseases they carry.... When you get farther from them, the risks get greater," Weese says.

He is no fan of a hedgehogs, a recent fad pet. "They've got obscene rates of carriage of certain zoonotic bacteria. Really high rates of salmonella shedding. They can get ringworm. They can carry the plague. Really nasty things."

Many of the more serious diseases are rare in domestic animals. And it is rarer still for pets to pass them to their humans.

But it does happen. A woman in Rhode Island died last year from lymphocytic choriomeningitis caught from a hamster. The tragedy was compounded when three people who received organs from the dead woman also contracted the disease and died.

And just recently, Quebec City veterinarian Dr. Lucie Paradis asked her staff to take antibiotics as a precautionary measure after a dog her clinic was caring for that was found to be sick with leptospirosis.

The disease is caused by bacteria found in the urine of infected animals; pets can become sick by drinking contaminated water. Left untreated, leptospirosis can be fatal - to both people and pets.

This dog pulled through, but in the process Paradis feared her staff could have been exposed - hence the antibiotics.

"He was hospitalized here for a week," she notes. "My staff had to clean the dog which was urinating maybe 10 times more than normal. So he was always in his urine."

Interestingly, the dog's owners' doctor didn't advise the same course of action for them.
Paradis doesn't question that decision, pointing out the dog was in the animal hospital during the worst of its illness.

But the different calls made by the physician and the veterinarian point to a problem those on the animal health side of the ledger see. Too often, the health of the whole household - human and animal - isn't taken into account when diseases crop up.

"There's very poor communication in general between the veterinarian and human (medicine) sides," Weese notes.

Chomel agrees. "When it happens in a family environment (it's important that) the pets not be forgotten. They will look at the humans and then they sometimes don't think to ask the question: 'Well, do you have pets? Let's test the pets.' "

-(at)

On the Net:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has an extensive website on pet and human health, called "Healthy Pets, Healthy People." It's found at http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/index.htm
found here
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Old 11-27-2006, 07:51 PM
Vivien Vivien is offline
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Have I gotten sick from my dog nooooooo!-She licks my face occasionally ...though I don't like it...but she gives me kisses on my hands all the time...She sleeps beside by bed but by the morning shes on it.As long as your up on shots and worm meds there is no problem with it...That article has me angry. He has a clear disliking to all kinds of animals ...I don't think anyone could chnage his mind. And.....why is he comparing pets to childeren???
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Old 11-27-2006, 07:53 PM
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Actually if your immune system is screwed docs generally reccomend you don't have pets. If your normal and healthy you should be fine.

I have helped a few cancer patients rehome pets and its an even bigger issue with aids patients-they catch anything.

I've seen plenty of people really ill from cat scratches also. Everyone in the maternity ward we talked to has never seen toxoplasmosis in a women without aids or some other immuno suppression.

Little kids sick from there hamsters. I forgot what it was they caught though.
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Old 11-27-2006, 07:54 PM
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Doesn't bother to mention that there has been a direct correlation found between growing up with pets (particularly dogs and cats) and a lower incidence of allergies . . . The OTHER side of the story . . .
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Old 11-27-2006, 07:57 PM
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Hmmm well aids does not have a cure, cancer is not much better in terms of treatment. I don't know how I could live with myself if I had to give up my pets, cancer or not. I would rather spend my last days happy with Charlie than be miserable without him.

There are also many studies that indicate that pets are good for people who are ill because they make up feel better on an emotional level.
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Last edited by misticaleclipse; 11-27-2006 at 07:58 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-27-2006, 07:58 PM
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Well, that's the difference between me, who treat my three Ms like my kids, and my husband, who treat them as his beloved pets. My husband loves the Ms as much as I do, but he refuses to let them onto our bed. He pets them, plays with them, feeds them, cares for them, basically he does all things every pet owners do, except letting the dogs kiss him on the face!! At times, it really annoys me, because the Ms wanted to kiss him so badly, but he refused them, so they came over to kiss me . I understand his concerns for our cleanliness & hygene, and thus agree with him on this subject. Our bed is off limit to the pooches, and no kisses for my husband.. We did compromise to share our sofa with them, though

I think it's important to recognize that in general, a human life is worth more than that of an animal. When the human life is at risk, and the animal is the cause of, or added to, the problem, then the priority should be saving the human life.

I wish nobody ever never have to face this heart-wrenching decision of choosing between his/her own life, or a loved one's life, and the life of a beloved pet.
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Last edited by M&M's Mommy; 11-27-2006 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:00 PM
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You always have to take into account quality of life. for me I would keep the dogs but for a lot of people-especially with kids-there isn't even a question to it. A friends sis had to get rid of two great pyraneese she adored but they all wanted her to keep fighting and she kept getting little colds with the dogs. I don't know if shes still alive or not.
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:02 PM
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Also, in regards to the story about the woman who died and then giving away organs that other people died from. Thats kind of strange... I guess its because they collect organs so quickly that they did not have time to determine why she died. So sad for the people who got the organs who died sooner than they would have with natures normal course of things.
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misticaleclipse View Post
Hmmm well aids does not have a cure, cancer is not much better in terms of treatment. I don't know how I could live with myself if I had to give up my pets, cancer or not. I would rather spend my last days happy with Charlie than be miserable without him.

There are also many studies that indicate that pets are good for people who are ill because they make up feel better on an emotional level.

I agree 100000000% Everything you said ^^^ there I completely agree!
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:07 PM
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I dont' let dogs lick me in the face (and try not to let them lick me anywhere really) because I *know* where those tongues have been. I wash my hands on a slightly more than regular basis, so I don't feel it's a huge deal. And I work around dogs and cats all the live long day and I feel just fine. I've had ringworm a few times, but that was as a kid and playing with unvaccinated barn cats for a month straight. It's nothing a little Vitamin E oil and tolfenate cream (athelete's foot cream) won't take care of in a couple of weeks!

They forgot to mention one of the more easily transmittable and miserable diseases though...Giardia. From what I hear, it affect humans worse than dogs, but is treatable and curable.
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