When people think about bringing an animal into their home to live with them, there is always a risk that this animal can bring sickness or disease. Without the proper precautions animals can bring germs that can spread to humans, particularly children under the age of 5. This is a reason to be more cautious with animals, not a reason to not have a pet!
To ensure safety, we should become familiar with the most common forms of germs and diseases that threaten us. Streptococcus is a form of bacteria that causes strep throat and skin infections. Your pet can carry ticks that cause Lyme disease; these ticks can hop from your pet to you and put you in risk. Salmonella, Campylobacter e. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium can spread through anything contaminated with an infected pets stool.
Toxoplasma is a germ found in cat stool, that can affect the brain and eyes in infants, and a pregnant mother can pass these effects to her unborn child. Worms, which can also be spread through contact with infected stool, can cause fever, rash, allergic reactions, eye, liver and lung disease, and brain infections. Finally rabies, which is usually found in wild animals, can also affect your pet and can be transmitted to humans through scratches and bites. This all seems like a lot and a huge risk to take, but all these diseases can be avoided very easily.
To prevent getting an illness from your pet, take new pets to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Take them back to the vet regularly for checkups and shots. You always want to wash your hands with soap after cleaning up after your pet goes to the bathroom. Clean litter boxes daily and never let your children play where your pet goes to the bathroom. Never let your pet eat any raw meat, also drinking from the toilet is very unhealthy and unsanitary. This all seems like a lot of work and a lot to remember, but once you get into a routine its is very simple.
The reward is much more than the slim risk you take when adopting a pet. Pets make wonderful playmates for children! They keep them physically active and teach them responsibility!
The Reunion Veterinary Hospital is located in the Ovation Shopping Center in Davenport, Fl. The veterinarians at our practice have a combined 80+ years of experience caring for pets. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!