Living with pets is not only a holiday and joy, but also a great responsibility. The owners of cats, dogs or lizards are used to monitoring their health and are in a hurry to the clinic, but they do not always think that not only the health of pets, but also the owners is on the agenda. “A bunch of infections from a walk”, “lichen in the country”, “rodents have no place in a house where there are children” - excitements are often exaggerated. Nevertheless, there are very real problems, and it is easier to prevent the danger than to treat the consequences. We asked the veterinarian Tatiana Babenko how to protect themselves from diseases transmitted by pets, and what their owners need to take into account to maintain hygiene in the house.
About pet-borne diseases
If you dream of a pet, you do not need to deny yourself for reasons of hygiene. Of course, there are enough diseases that can be contracted from domestic animals - anthropozoonoses, but compliance with the simplest safety measures can significantly reduce the risks. There are several most common anthropozoonoses, and you can protect yourself from all of them. The most popular rabies, transmitted by animal bites, is quite rare, but very dangerous, since it is most likely to be fatal if clinical symptoms develop. Cases of recovery after a long stay in an artificial drug coma have been described, but this is more the exception than the rule.
Both humans and pets can become infected through the bite or drooling of a wound by wild or already sick pets. It can take up to two years from the moment of infection to the disease, and your pet can become contagious even before clinical signs appear. It is also dangerous that shallow bites can be easily missed, and forms of rabies are often not classical, with manifestations of aggression, but vice versa: the animal can become very affectionate, after which it becomes weak and paralyzed. For protection, it is recommended to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies annually and neuter those animals that you do not plan to breed: neutered pets are less likely to go far or fight with their fellows.
Pregnant women with pets are often afraid of contracting toxoplasmosis. The disease is really dangerous - primarily for women who are expecting a child and who do not have immunity to toxoplasma. All animals suffer from toxoplasmosis, but you can only get infected from cats: they excrete an infectious stage with feces, which, once in the body of any mammal, will multiply in almost any internal organs. In humans, this can lead to severe fetal pathologies.
It is not recommended to give raw meat to pets, and the cat litter box should be cleaned regularly and with gloves
However, getting infected is also not easy: for this, the cat's feces need to lie for more than a day, and then get into the mouth. Most often, you can catch the parasite through unwashed vegetables and fruits, which have got cat feces, or through raw meat - amateur cooks often try minced meat. For the same reason, it is not recommended to give raw meat to pets, and the cat litter box should be cleaned regularly and with gloves. Before pregnancy, you need to donate blood for antibodies M and G: in the first case, a positive result indicates a disease and the need for treatment, in the second, that immunity has been developed and there is no need to worry.
Dogs and cats, as well as rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and in general any mammals can reward lichen. It is a fungal disease transmitted through direct contact or through the air with spores. Most often, children, the elderly or those with weakened immunity are sick.There is no special prophylaxis, that is, vaccination: it is better to simply not allow animals on the street, especially to communicate with courtyard and basement brothers. Animals taken from the street must be checked in the clinic, especially when areas of baldness and itching appear.
The notorious salmonellosis can also be contracted from any mammal and bird - through feces or feed, even industrial ones. Use gloves to clean the trays and keep children away from the cat's bowl. An acute infectious disease called leptospirosis, which affects all internal organs from the liver and kidneys to the brain, is common in dogs and rodents, and rarely in cats. Dogs become infected by drinking water from puddles or by eating rodents. Sick animals excrete leptospira in the urine, so it is quite difficult to get infected, but cases are known. Again, vaccination protects, but only dogs are vaccinated. If you do not want to become infected with helminths (in common parlance - worms), it is important to carry out prophylaxis in pets: I recommend giving them drugs every three months - or as directed by your veterinarian. Even if the pet is not on the street, it may well lick the floor where the street shoes were.
About veterinary examinations and vaccinations
If the animal is doing well, during the first six years of its life, one scheduled examination and a year and, accordingly, annual vaccination is sufficient. Vaccination is a mandatory step that will protect animal owners, therefore it is important for everyone to be aware of the procedure for its implementation. According to the recommendations of the International Veterinary Association (WSAVA), rabies vaccination is considered basic for dogs and cats in regions where rabies is common. Russia also belongs to such regions. Dogs living in Moscow also need to be vaccinated against leptospirosis - preferably twice a year, especially those who walk a lot, can drink water from a puddle or catch mice.
According to the law, rabies vaccination should be carried out from two months of age, but if you are not going to an exhibition or on a trip in the near future, it is better to do it later - when the pet is 16 weeks old. The fact is that in puppies and kittens, maternal antibodies interfere with the effective action of most modern vaccines, therefore it is recommended to administer basic drugs to them in three approaches at intervals - the last dose should be at the age of 14-16 weeks or older. If you can only afford one approach, then it should be all core vaccines and should be vaccinated at the age of 16 weeks.
If the dog is properly vaccinated and treated against worms and fleas, then it is quite possible for her to sleep in the same bed.
with the owners
An adult animal should not be vaccinated more often than necessary. After the initial series of vaccines for puppies and kittens, booster vaccinations are needed after a year. Further, the animal must be vaccinated no more often than once every three years. Immunity lasts a long time - it can last a lifetime. Vaccinations against specific diseases of dogs and cats are more likely to be needed by your pets, and they will allow you to save on treatment. For dogs, such vaccines are recognized as against canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus of the second type, for cats - against feline parvovirus, feline calicivirus, and feline herpesvirus type 1. If you want to do everything possible and even a little more for your pet and your own health, I advise you to pay attention to the WSAVA recommendations for optimal research and analysis. In addition, it is important to keep an eye on chronic diseases and weak points of the animal, as well as to keep the diseases inherent in the breed under control.
Before the vaccination, the doctor will carefully examine the animal, because only healthy ones can be vaccinated. If the doctor notices any symptoms of the disease, he will offer you a diagnosis and, perhaps, postpone vaccinations. For animals over six years old, routine check-ups with a doctor are recommended twice a year. One of these examinations takes place simultaneously with vaccination, and for the second, you can simply go to an appointment with any therapist.In addition, veterinarians advise owners of pets over six years old to bring them for screening tests (general clinical and biochemical blood tests) once a year to identify age-related pathologies in the early stages.
About hygiene in a home with pets
Each owner decides for himself, but, in my opinion, if the dog is properly vaccinated, deworming, treated for fleas, then it is quite possible for her to sleep in the same bed with the owners and be in close contact with them. With mice, everything is more complicated: they cannot be vaccinated as reliably, because there are simply no vaccines. Let them crawl on the desktop if you have a habit of washing your hands before eating, but if you often put pizza on the keyboard, then you better not.
As for children, I think growing up with a puppy and a kitten, and better with both, is great, but the rules of hygiene must be observed. Of course, there are parents who believe that if a child reaches for a cat's bowl, then this is an animal's problem, but this must be monitored. Let everyone eat from their own plate, and the child washes his hands before eating. If children clean the litter box after a kitten, be sure to wear gloves. Hug, sleep together - please. Reliable research confirms that children who grow up with pets are less susceptible to allergic and autoimmune diseases. Of course, we are talking about pets that are vaccinated, treated against parasites and undergo regular examinations by a veterinarian.
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