At Christmas time with the generous giving spirit of the season, we begin to think of all the wonderful things we would love to receive as gifts. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be glorious to own a beautiful and majestic unicorn? Hmmmm, maybe not!
There’s a lot to think about when choosing a pet for your home.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends you think about these safety and preventive measures when acquiring an exotic pet:
* Exotic pets in the home may lead to serious illness. Have your pet checked out by a veterinarian and talk to you pediatrician about what kind of pet is best for your child.
* Be sure to match the size and temperament of the pet to the age and behavior of the your child. Be sure to provide close supervision to reduce the possibility of injury.
* Wash hands immediately after contact with animals, animal products, or their environment.
* Do not allow nontraditional pets to roam or fly freely in the house. This can be messy, smelly and dangerous.
* Do not allow animals in areas where food or drink are prepared or consumed.
* Keep animals free of parasites, ticks, and fleas. Maintain current vaccines like rabies.
Did you know?
* There is a lack of health screenings for animals that are caught in the wild and brought to the US. There is also potential mixing of animal species in holding locations where there may be exposure to incubating illness, or carriers of pathogens.
* The AAP reports that the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that 365,000 birds were imported legally into the US in 2002; and 87,991 mammals (including 29 species of rodents), 1.3 million reptiles and 203 million fish were imported in 2005. Reptiles are now in 4.4 million homes, and 40,000 households now harbor hedgehogs.
* In 2003, a human monkey pox outbreak was traced back to imported African Gambian rats that had infected prairie dogs sold as pets. Small pet turtles were responsible for 103 cases of salmonella infection in the second half of last year, mostly in young children.
* Reptiles have a high rate of carrying different strains of salmonella, as do turtles, baby poultry, including chicks and hamsters.
* Plague is carried by wild rodents and transmitted to humans handling infected animals, including domestic cats, that have been bitten by fleas. And macaque monkeys carry the herpes B virus.
* Wild animals are best left in the wild. They can be unpredictable, possibly posing a threat to people of severe attack. And rabies from wild animals is always a concern.
Be smart and careful when choosing a pet for your family.
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Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;122/4/876
Posted by Paisley Mizin