Could Your Pet Be Making You Sick?

Unfortunately, people with compromised immune systems are often mistakenly advised to remove cats from the household to reduce the risk of infection. This is particularly distressing for people going through a serious illness, who often need the love of their pets to help them get through this tough time. However, people are highly unlikely to become infected from direct contact with their cats and with simple, proper precautions, there is no danger at all.

What should people do to stay safe?
The key for owners is cleanliness. Wash your hands before and after handling your pets. Avoid letting them lick your face, your plates, utensils, etc.

Minimize your contact with high-pet traffic areas — doggy parks or doggy potty areas at highway rest stops. If you do go to them, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you leave.

Also, keep your surroundings clean. Scoop the poop in the street and in your yard. Make sure the area where your children play is poop-free. Cover up the sandbox when it's not in use, which will keep it parasite and poop-free. But if you're pregnant or have an immune deficiency, make sure someone else does the scooping.

Finally, take bites and scratches seriously. Clean them thoroughly and see a doctor if you experience any irritation.

What should I do to protect my pets?
First of all, keep you pets in good health with semi-annual visits to the vet to keep their vaccines current and to make sure they are parasite-free. Also, make sure that you use year-round parasite control throughout your pet's life, regardless of your pet's age or where you live.

Keep your pet's environment clean by scooping the poop out of your cat's litter box every day. Also, deep clean the litter box periodically with scalding hot water and detergent, and replace that litter box at least once a year.

Visit the following Web sites for more information:

www.healthypet.com

www.petparents.com

www.wormsandgermsblog.com

www.ACVIM.org

www.cdc.gov/healthypets

www.noworms.com

www.petconnection.com

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