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Can pets make you sick?

14 Aug 2018

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Ouch! Got a little nipper?

No matter the bond we have with our pets, dog and cat bites can occur from time-to-time. But they don’t have to! Keeping harmless (and not so harmless) nips at bay can start with simply chatting to your vet about how to interact with your pet safely. If you’ve got a pup, socialise him whilst teaching your little ones how to behave around pets. While there’s nothing quite like the pet-kiddie bond, little hands don’t always know the meaning of ‘be gentle’, so adult supervision is a must.

Worst case scenario, if you do get bitten or badly scratched, head to the doc to minimise the risk of infection.

For the lizard lovers …

What’s not to love about lizards?! They’re relatively easy to care for, amazing to look at and generally pretty chilled. But, just like we humans can carry germs, so can reptiles. You’re probably familiar with salmonella in relation to food poisoning. Well pets – particularly reptiles such as lizards – can carry the bacteria too and share it with us via their poop. Thanks Lizzie Lizard!

If you’ve ever had a bout of food poisoning, you’ll know the symptoms aren’t pretty.

Practising good hygiene, including washing your hands after handling your pet and any raw pet food, is the best way to steer clear of the bug. For at-risk groups, such as youngsters, older people, pregnant women and the immunocompromised, enjoying reptilian roommates from afar is recommended.

Mind the kitty poop

Cleaning up animal poop has got to be the least fun job of owning a pet, but when it comes to clearing kitty litter, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems can potentially handball the task. That’s because toxoplasmosis can sometimes result from contact with our beloved animals’ infected faeces, and mums-to-be who have never been infected, plus the immunocompromised, are at increased risk of some serious effects.

Practising good hand hygiene and getting others to clean and handle litter trays is worthwhile for peace of mind. Also, wear gloves when gardening and wash garden produce that may have been exposed to cat poo.

NIB0530-19 910 x 355 VF

A wee problem

That’s right, we’re talking animal pee and leptospirosis – it’s a bit of a mouthful, hey? This infection comes thanks to the leptospira bacteria, which we humans can pick up via infected animal urine. Dogs, cats, horses, rats and mice are some of the potential carriers, but livestock are affected more than dogs.

Getting your pet vaccinated is a great preventive measure, but it’s worth taking other precautions as well. Think avoiding contact with potentially contaminated water, practising good hand hygiene and not giving dogs raw offal. Now all you have left to do is enjoy your fur ball’s company!

We think the pros of owning a pet far outweigh the cons, and by following our tips you can minimise the risks. But for peace of mind and to protect your family from the unforeseen, think about getting health insurance. Get a quote today.

Important things to know

Information correct as at September 2018