Hey there, Dr. Westwood here!

With the Ebola scare out there I wanted to take some time to talk about the benefits and potential risks our furry family members can give us. Ebola is currently NOT one of the risks. At the end is of this blog is a link to the CDC that gives some great info on Ebola and pets.

Because of our growing and deepening relationship with pets they are now sharing our lifestyles and homes with us to an extent they have not ever done before. They are becoming our 4 legged children and friends. Due to this deepening bond we, humans, have benefited greatly. Here are just a few:

They improve the lives of Alzheimer patients, autistic children, physically/mentally challenged people, home-bound people, and individuals with depression or other emotional problems

Pet owners have significantly higher recovery rates than non-owners after a heart attack

Animals can sometimes increase our ability to interact and communicate with other people

In one study pet owners over the course of 1 year had significantly fewer visits to their primary physicians than non-pet owners.

And in my view they just make us feel better and happier. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been upset, sad or anxious and just sitting down with my dog, or cat, or riding my horse made me feel happier.

They have brought amazing positives to our lives, however because of this closer family bond our risk of getting sick from our pets has increased. There are numerous diseases and parasites that animals can carry that can infect us. A few of the more common things that pets can unwittingly share with us are :

  • Roundworms and Hookworms (intestinal parasites)
  • Ringworm
  • Cat Scratch Disease (Bartonella)
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rabies
  • And a host of others

There are some simple things that we can do to protect ourselves and improve our bond with our pets.

First and foremost REGULAR VETERINARY CARE. This keeps your 4 legged, furry child healthier, decreasing their risk to you. These visits also allow for the most current and correct education to be passed onto you, their human.

Flea and tick control

Heartworm prevention- This also helps prevent intestinal parasites like Roundworms and Hookworms

Teach everyone to wash their hands after playing handling our pets. A lot of the above diseases have to be ingested…..Ewwwww.

Pick up fecal material/change litter boxes regularly and not just weekly or monthly.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at Country Friend Veterinary Clinic for more information.

Questions and Answers about Ebola and Pets:

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/qas-pets.html