Pets and immunity


My parents are convinced that the reason I am so sick is because I have 1 dog and three cats. I am fighting a bronchitics at this moment and have not been this ill since I started Embrel 3 years ago but I do not believe it is because I have animal friends. I believe it is because my receptive to colds more. Is there any theory out there that people like us should not have furry friends? I am tired of fighting with my parents about this and I am 48years old!

Hi Rebel mom, ok I am VERY HAPPY to wade in on this issue and SHOUT from the rooftops that provided we keep our animals treated for parasites (internal and external) and take sensible hygiene precautions ...... which everyone should take anyway around animals ....... we have VERY LITTLE TO FEAR of catching anything from our pets.

My qualifications for making this statement. I am an animal care professional and, although the PsA has got me stopped in my tracks at the moment, I run a boarding cattery as well as own five cats .........

Things like colds cannot be transmitted between animals and humans. These viruses are species specific as are the majority of the illnesses that we and our pets can suffer with. There are some diseases which can pass between us, these are known as zoonotic diseases, but I come back to my first statement that parasite control and good hygiene practices are all that is necessary. There is FAR MORE EVIDENCE supporting the benefits of pet ownership than exists for risks of disease.

Here is a factsheet issued by the highly respected International Cat Care on zoonoses.

FWIW, one of my cats came down with what the vet thinks is a campylobacter stomach infection on Christmas Eve. My kitchen (and the cat) were smothered in his diarrhoea. Now this IS a highly infectious zoonotic disease. Have we caught it? No we haven't! I'm on a biologic and my husband takes azothiaprine for Crohn's. We cleaned up thoroughly and wash our hands when we've handled him ...... have I stopped cuddling this little cat over Christmas? No I haven't. My husband has had a stinking cold over Christmas ...... have I stopped cuddling him over Christmas? You bettcha!!!!!!!!!!!

Jules- Thanks for giving such a wonderful explanation. Animals help to minimize stress, so should in fact be encouraged for people with chronic conditions to help manage stress.

Of course, you may not want to talk to me after I'm cleaning up cat pee for the third time in one day when my boy misses the litterbox, again.

We have our own cats and have fostered a whole bunch of kittens this summer. I also walk dogs, so I'm exposed to a lot of different animals. I wouldn't want it any other way. Enjoy your dog and cats.

Hi Stoney, thanks. I don't want to hijack Rebel mom's post, but I've got some suggestions if you've got a cat missing the litter box. I'll send you a friend request so we can take this offline. J