Pregnancy and Pets 2
In earlier days people would get rid of cats when a woman got pregnant, today studies have proved that it is not necessary to abandon your pet cat, though they can prove harmful to the pregnant woman but if some necessary precautions are taken they may still keep on to live as family.
In cats, toxoplasmosis is the main reason of alarm where pregnancy and feline friends are concerned. If this infection is carried to the pregnant woman she is in danger of miscarriage or serious birth defects. Cats can easily carry this infection by eating meat that is infected, eating mice, soil and birds are all sources of spreading this infection. This is further on passed to the pregnant woman through the cat’s feces. The following precautions should be taken to prevent the cat from contacting this infection
- The pregnant woman should avoid changing or coming in contact with litter or litter box. If no one else is present to do the job, gloves should be used and hands should be washed thoroughly after the job is done.
- Your cat should not be allowed to go out of the house as this will prevent it from eating any contaminated meat.
- Avoid stray cat or any other cat that may have been outdoors.
- Canned foods and dried commercial foods should be used only to feed your cat. No raw or undercooked meat.
Dogs do not pose any serious risk to a pregnant woman’s health. The only risk is of your dog jumping on top of you when you are lying or sitting in the couch. It is good to train your dog against this act if you plan a pregnancy. Also your dog should be trained for the coming baby. Dogs can be dangerous to the newborn if not mannered properly.
Birds don’t pose any risk to a pregnant woman but they should be checked by the veterinarian for good health. Birds may carry some infections such as salmonella, campylobacter, chlamydiosis and others. Also cleaning of the cage should be avoided and hands should be washed after getting in contact with the bird and its cage.
Reptilians according to APA (American Pregnancy Association) should be kept away not only during pregnancy but also until the child reaches the age of 5. Snakes, lizards, turtles, iguanas etc all carry salmonella bacteria in there feces and may pose serious risks to a pregnant woman. Also young kids up to the age of five should avoid contact as exposure to these bacteria can cause health problems as there immune system is still in the process of making. Doctors suggest these pets should be removed from the houses from the time of pregnancy until the kid is five. Those who keep these pets should take these safety procedures
- Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap after getting in contact with the pet or its cage.
- These pets should stay secured to a place and should have no access to the kitchen or any other area where food preparation process is undertaken.
- Do not wash or bath them in the kitchen sink and cage should be washed outside the house.
Rodents cause serious risk to pregnant women as may carry and transmit the LCMV virus, specially those pets which are acquired through a pet store. Exposure to this virus may lead to severe birth defects and miscarriage. Pet rodents include hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils. If a rodent resides in the house where there is a pregnant woman it should be kept separate in another part of the house and someone else should be responsible for the cleaning and look after.
Farm animals may carry salmonella, listeria, campylobacter and cryptosporidium. You should not take part in silage feeding and handling new born animals. Always wash your hands after you have contact with farm animals and there area of living.
You should take safety precautions with almost any pet that you have during pregnancy to avoid any complication in future. If you are at doubt on anything do consult a doctor or a veterinarian. Read more on pregnancy and pets.