represent an important part of the life of many Americans, but many others have
found they can live perfectly contented without them.
Both children and adults may have as much affection for a pet as for a
family member, although genuine love also indicates features of spiritual and
emotional duty, responsibility, and dependence.
These qualities are not normally experienced with pets.
someone determines pet ownership liabilities outweigh the benefits, alternatives
are easy to find. The cultivation
of plants; visiting shut-ins; giving time and attention to young children; and
creative activities such as writing, art, music, all offer satisfying venues for
our time, talent and love.
pets from the household seems to be an especially difficult measure for many
people. Although many parents or ill patients have been advised by their
physician to get rid of their pets, they do not comply.
The number of diseases associated with pets is quite formidable, and
growing with each decade. Certain
activities are especially associated with danger.
Children playing in soil where animals have played or voided are at risk.
Creeping eruption on the skin from a parasite transmitted from the pet;
chorioretinitis necessitating loss of an eye, and larva migrans in the internal
organs from parasites that travel from skin to deep organs are some of the
common problems seen.
is probably one of the most common diseases transmitted from pets to humans.
About 50% of the U. S. population show evidence in their blood of having
had toxoplasmosis. The disease can
be very mild, with the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis or even lymphoma,
but in the acute forms, the disease can be severe and is often fatal.
If a baby is infected through his mother before birth the disease can
result in mental retardation, blindness, or death.
The disease is transmitted chiefly by cat feces and undercooked meat of
prevent toxoplasmosis meat should be heated to at least 150
degrees F. (66 degrees C.)
throughout all portions before eating. Hands
should be well washed with soap and water after handling meat.
meat should never be fed to cats; feed them only dry or canned foods or cooked
meats. Keep cats indoors
constantly, or outdoors constantly. If
you must have a cat and it is an indoor cat, find a better mouse trap, but don't
allow the cat to "mouse," as mice carry Toxoplasma.
If it is an outdoor cat, be all the more careful to avoid contact as its
chances of contacting rodents is greatly increased.
litter boxes daily. Flush cat feces
down the toilet or burn it. If cats
are present, use gloves while working in the garden.
Cats frequently defecate in loose soil found in gardens.
Childrenís sandboxes should be well covered when not in use to keep
cats from using them as litter boxes. Women
should be advised to be especially careful during pregnancy as an infection
acquired during pregnancy can have devastating results on the unborn child.
Salmonellosis, a disease of the digestive tract, can be transmitted to
children from a pet such as a cuddly chick or duckling received at Easter time,
pet turtles and frogs, snails in aquariums, and from any other pet.
Antibiotics are contraindicated for salmonellosis and may prolong the
Mountain Spotted Fever
- is now found throughout the U.S. despite its name.
It is characterized by a measles-like rash and is a disease transmitted
by the American dog tick. Wild
animals are most often involved as the reservoir for the disease, but
domesticated animals may sometimes harbor the ticks.
Rabies is another disease transmitted from animals to man.
Animals can host and transmit the rabies virus long before they manifest
signs of illness. It is not just
animals "foaming at the mouth and acting crazy" that need to be
avoided. Rabies can be transmitted
not only from rabid dogs or wild animals, but contact with the saliva of an
infected animal in an open wound.
you are bitten by a dog or cat, check with the owner to see if the animal's
rabies vaccine is current. The
animal should also be quarantined for a number of days to double-check for signs
of rabies infection.
This disease can cause lymph
node swelling upstream from the scratch or bite. Rose thorn scratches may also
transmit the disease if cats play around the roses.
Fever and feeling bad can be part of the syndrome.
- can infest humans, and show lesions on chest x-rays that mimic cancer,
necessitating unnecessary surgery and expensive diagnostic procedures, to say
nothing of the physical disability involved.
- or rabbit fever can be spread by rabbits, ticks, or deer flies, and is highly
contagious. It can be obtained by
contact with an infected animal, eating the animal, or from air droplets.
It is characterized by high fever, pneumonia, or gastrointestinal
disease, swelling of lymph nodes, and an ulcer at the point of infection, and
can be fatal.
dogs can transmit North American blastomycosis which may have such symptoms as
skin lesions or pneumonia that fails to respond to antibiotics.
might think birds would be safe pets, but a little investigation reveals them to
be subject to the same and different diseases as other pets.
Psittacosis (parrot fever) affects 130 species of domestic and wild
birds, most commonly pigeons, ducks, turkeys, chickens, and parrots. Humans
normally get the disease from parrots or parakeets through contact with their
feces and breathing the air around their cages.
It leads to headaches, chills, fever, cough, and pneumonia.
course, there is more and more evidence associating pets with serious,
disabling, and life-threatening diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis,
leukemia-lymphoma groups, and many other diseases.
one cannot entirely eliminate pets from the environment, he should attempt to
control transmission of the disease by keeping pets out-of-doors in their own
quarters, far away from the areas where children play and where people are
likely to breath dust that may be blown up from the animalís quarters.
pneumonia can cause cases of primary atypical pneumonia in man.2
costs of capturing and destroying unwanted, free-roaming dogs, and administering
associated laws, costs an estimated 450 million dollars annually.3
children with brain tumors as well as children with other malignancies have been
exposed to farm animals and to sick pets than children who have no malignancies.4
kinds of animals, from ants, pet hamsters and turtles to elephants can transmit
diseases to humans. The diseases
range from skin lesions and sore throats to life-threatening illnesses of the
brain and central nervous system.
any family where anyone has any kind of allergy, the burden of proof is on the
family to exclude the animal as the source of the allergy.
About one-third of allergists uniformly recommend that pets be eliminated
from the allergic household.5
The allergic person may be sensitive not only to the dander of the dog,
but to saliva, urine, and blood.6
Patient Care, March 30, 1981, p. 23.
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 15(2):139, December, 1942.
Medical World News, Oct. 11, 1974, p. 96.
American Journal of Epidemiology 109:309-319, March, 1979.
Medical Tribune, May 23, 1979.
Patient Care, March 30, 1981, p. 18.
few years ago, having some time on our hands while on a speaking tour across the
United States, our health team resorted to a library to do a little research.
Most modern libraries now have computers equipped with a periodical
search capability which makes research more like a game.
in the subject of pets and their adverse effects on their owners, two key words
were entered; feline and pets.
Some of the selected titles found are listed below.
virus found in many domestic cats
(feline immunodeficiency virus.) New
York Times, July 13, '91.
(feline immunodeficiency virus related to human virus.) v11 Discover,
Mother Earth News, Sept-Oct '89.
deficiency in cats.
The Animals' Agenda, Jan-Feb
and AIDS research.
Maclean's, May 2, '88.
FDA Consumer, April '90.
and Rabies: cause for concern in the Midwest.
Better Homes and Gardens, May
- unseen dangers
(diseases that can be transferred between animals and humans.) Current
Health, 2 March '91.
your pets transmit disease?
USA Today, Feb '90.
represents a fraction of the information available on the downside of pet
ownership. Perhaps giving our
attention to souls for whom Christ died would be a better outlet for our
Return To Counseling Sheets
Disclaimer: The above counseling sheet
is provided courtesy of the Uchee Pines
Health Institute. The Uchee Pines Institute was started almost 30 years ago
by Calvin Thrash, M.D., specialist in Internal Medicine, and his wife, Agatha
Thrash, M.D., board specialist in pathology. It is a non-profit, health
educational and treatment facility located in the country near Seale, Alabama,
15 miles from Columbus, Georgia. (Address: Uchee Pines Institute, 30
Uchee Pines Road
Seale, Alabama 36875-5702. Phone: (334) 855-4764. Fax: (334) 855-4780. Email: email@example.com. Location Map: Click Here). The information contained in the counseling sheets is presented as a general educational and information guide. The counseling sheets are not intended to be used for instruction in medical treatment. The author cannot assume the medical or legal responsibility of having this information misinterpreted and considered as a prescription for any condition or any person.