Take it easy on the new-found pet obsession brought about by watching too many cat memes and dog compilation videos. Aside from the expected allergic reactions from dander, here’s a lowdown on the not-so-cute reality of diseases and dangers that humans can get from having a pet.
Avoid a possible cat-astrophe
Cats, whether indoor or outdoor, and regardless of how you care for them, may pose danger to their owners who plan on bringing their feline pets to their hometowns this Holy Week.
Cat poop not only smells terrible but also contains parasites, called Toxoplasma gondii. The parasites are referred to as oocysts, when they are already spreading infection. The probability is high that these oocysts can cause memory impairment and other cognitive dysfunctions to healthy people, while causing more severe problems for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder or rheumatoid arthritis.
Some people are content to put a collar on their cats’ necks and let the felines roam free outdoors. The problem is that cats who frolic outdoors are the ones most likely to host those parasites. Be sure to throw cat litter into the garbage, and wear gloves when gardening because those parasites can survive up to 18 months in moist soil.
Wait just a dog-gone minute and read this
We all know dogs are fond of licking and slurping all sorts of things. A LOT. There is a misconception that dog fur triggers allergic reactions to dogs. A study published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, however, revealed that dog saliva carries around 12 different allergy-causing protein bands.
Dr. Edward Eisner, an internationally recognized leader in the field of Veterinary Dentistry, has also cautioned on letting your dog lick your face because bacteria can be transferred from pets to humans. This was confirmed in a 2012 study that found evidence of periodontopathic (referring to surrounding tissues and supporting structures of the teeth) bacteria transmitted from dogs to humans.
Dog poop, on the other hand, also contains several types of bacteria from salmonella and giardia, to coliform bacteria, including the dreaded E. coli bacteria that cause symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders in humans. If you live in a subdivision where people walk their dogs, you may get mad at pet owners who do not clean up after their pets’ defecations. Said pet owners, for their own health, should use poop-scoopers and then dispose of the dog feces using a plastic bag to prevent them from contaminating the surroundings and exposing people to health hazards.
Stop horsing around in that barn
You may be one of those people fortunate enough to get to visit a farm in the province and there happens to be horses there. Remember a grown horse is a bundle of nerves that is several hundreds of pounds heavier than you. An excited horse has been known to cause a concussion—at the very least—to an unwary person.
Before hamming it up with a hamster for sale
In the 1977 film, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Jodie Foster portrays a character whose only friend is a hamster. Other hamster characters have found their way into film, mostly animated ones. There is really something cute about hamsters, especially when you do not think of them as cousins of mice and rats. That schoolmate in college who put a hamster on her head probably thought she looked cute by doing so.
Cuteness aside, though, mice as well as their rodent-relatives, pet hamsters, are also sources of a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), which can infect the human brain, or membranes near the brain and spinal cord. Especially if you got it from a random pet seller, which is likely to have exposed the little creatures to inhumane conditions upon selling, once you breathe in airborne particles of that pet’s urine, feces, or saliva, you do not turn cute like a hamster but experience symptoms, including but not limited to fever, chest pain, and muscle aches. Go to a hospital immediately for treatment once that happens.