Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pets and Children

Pets, including cats, just like babies, should go to the doctor often for check ups and vaccinations.

During my pregnancy we learned through reading, other parents, as well as our vet that there are a number things we needed to be aware of while preparing for Sarah's arrival, as far as our pets go, and as means to protect ourselves generally.

+ No more helping to clean out the litter box due to the potential risk of contracting
toxoplasmosis which can be harmful to unborn fetuses. Let's just say I was happy to give up this task -- sorry Sammy. There is no need to send your lovable feline away just take extra precautions

+ Wear shoes, socks or slippers around the house, no bare feet during pregnancy, as cats do, innocently, get litter in their paws and then track it around the house

+ Get your cat tested for Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) -- a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae. Most cats do not show any signs of this illness; therefore, you cannot tell which cats can spread the disease to you and your children and others in contact with your lovable feline.

Considering our Sammy was an indoor geriatric cat with the occasional tummy trouble and such over the years, it was a shock for us to find that she was living with CSD especially with a baby on the way. This cat has been the vet every year, many times for many well visits and sometimes sick visits and is up to date on all of her vaccinations. So, you can imagine we were rather surprised.

Nonetheless,the vet then told us that with a month long course of antibiotics for Sammy, and us, especially me, taking extra precautions when playing with her during this time to avoid accidental scratching, all would be fine. The good news is that Sammy has been free of CSD and not a risk to anyone she comes in contact with. The only thing you may get from Sammy is a lot of love and requests for belly rubs and food.

Most people ask, as it relates to dogs, whether they have had their rabies shots. Well, for cats, it's important to ask whether they have had their vaccinations and the test for CSD. Like babies, pets, and cats, even if they are indoor pets, need to go for well visits and sick visits. Sammy showed no signs of CSD and due to a routine visit that involved questions surrounding my pregnancy including tips, this test of our pet came about and now we, and all our family and friends, are protected.

Should you or your child ever get scratched or bitten by an animal, even an indoor cat, please ask their owner to get them tested for CSD. Also, talk with your doctor about signs and symptoms to be aware of should any necessary measures need to be taken immediately or in the following days after an accidental animal bite or scratch.

So, I strongly urge and encourage pet owners to please take your pets for well visits and don't hesitate asking questions to help protect them, you, your children and everyone else that comes in contact with your lovable, furry family member.

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