I would hope it’s safe to say we all know that being around cat poop for a pregnant mom-to-be can have dire consequences due to toxoplasmosis. I’m not going to deny that being a cat lover and owner of the kitty litter cleaning brigade getting a 9 month leave of absence was lovely. I know that some people don’t really believe it’s an issue, but believe me the aftereffect to the child is very real. While I may seem cheeky in my comments of not having to clean the kitty litter, the truth is I’ve seen the devastating effects of toxoplasmosis firsthand. The sweet child is no longer with us, he passed away from complications resulting from the seizures he was prone to.
We know cats can cause harm to our unborn babies, and there are of course a number of old wives tales about babies and cats. Cats always seem to get the short end of the stick, but what about man’s best friend, the dog? Well, according to some recent findings it appears that we may need to be concerned about dogs as well. In particular, we need to be concerned with pregnant dogs and newborn puppies as they can carry diseases that can infect their human. There have been a number of cases of pregnant women becoming infected with brucellosis. In humans, brucellosis can lead to fever, joint weakness and fatigue. If pregnant, it can lead to miscarriage in the first trimester and if infected later on in the pregnancy can lead to preterm labour and stillbirth.
In truth, contracting brucellosis from dogs is relatively rare. However, brucellosis is also commonly found in a number of farm animals; sheep, goats and cows. The long and the short, if you’re pregnant you should avoid helping dogs and farm animals during labour and should consider not handling newborn puppies regardless of how darn cute they are!
If you’re interested in learning more about what diseases can be spread from dogs to humans, I came across an interesting article in the Journal of Medicine and Life. I didn’t realise the Norovirus could be spread from dogs to people…. As mentioned in my blog “Summer Sickness may equal Winter Weakness”, this could be a bad year for norovirus! If you have a dog, you may want to be vigilant. Norovirus is spread via the fecal-oral route and you know that dogs lick their bums!
The need for hand hygiene and environmental surface disinfection never ceases to amaze me!