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Mrs. Lyfing
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 02:00 PM
I thought this was a good article for parents or parents to be :)



CHICAGO - Warning: young children should not keep hedgehogs as pets or hamsters, baby chicks, lizards and turtles, for that matter because of risks for disease.


That's according to the nation's leading pediatricians' group in a new report about dangers from exotic animals.

Besides evidence that they can carry dangerous and sometimes potentially deadly germs, exotic pets may be more prone than cats and dogs to bite, scratch or claw putting children younger than 5 particularly at risk, the report says.

Young children are vulnerable because of developing immune systems plus they often put their hands in their mouths.

That means families with children younger than 5 should avoid owning "nontraditional" pets. Also, kids that young should avoid contact with these animals in petting zoos or other public places, according to the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report appears in the October edition of the group's medical journal, Pediatrics.

"Many parents clearly don't understand the risks from various infections" these animals often carry, said Dr. Larry Pickering, the report's lead author and an infectious disease specialist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For example, about 11 percent of salmonella illnesses in children are thought to stem from contact with lizards, turtles and other reptiles, Pickering said. Hamsters also can carry this germ, which can cause severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

Salmonella also has been found in baby chicks, and young children can get it by kissing or touching the animals and then putting their hands in their mouths, he said.

Study co-author Dr. Joseph Bocchini said he recently treated an infant who got salmonella from the family's pet iguana, which was allowed to roam freely in the home. The child was hospitalized for four weeks but has recovered, said Bocchini, head of the academy's infectious diseases committee and pediatrics chairman at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

Hedgehogs can be dangerous because their quills can penetrate skin and have been known to spread a bacteria germ that can cause fever, stomach pain and a rash, the report said.

With supervision and precautions like hand-washing, contact between children and animals "is a good thing," Bocchini said. But families should wait until children are older before bringing home an exotic pet, he said.

Those who already have these pets should contact their veterinarians about specific risks and possible new homes for the animals, he said.

Data cited in the study indicate that about 4 million U.S. households have pet reptiles. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, all kinds of exotic pets are on the rise, although generally fewer than 2 percent of households own them.

The veterinarian group's Mike Dutton, a Weare, N.H., exotic animal specialist, said the recommendations send an important message to parents who sometimes buy exotic pets on an impulse, "then they ask questions, sometimes many months later."

But a spokesman for the International Hedgehog Association said there's no reason to single out hedgehogs or other exotic pets.

"Our recommendation is that no animal should be a pet for kids 5 and under," said Z.G. Standing Bear. He runs a rescue operation near Pikes Peak, Colo., for abandoned hedgehogs, which became fad pets about 10 years ago.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081006/ap_on_he_me/med_exotic_pets

Oswiu
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 03:26 PM
I'm waiting for this;

Besides evidence that they can carry dangerous and sometimes potentially deadly germs, exotic peoples may be more prone than people of your own ethnic group to bite, scratch or claw — putting children younger than 5 particularly at risk,
I'm sure there's a far greater risk to life from the hordes of Africans and Asians coming here every week, with their TB and HIV and whatnot. Don't hold your breath to hear Doctors and the Media mentioning that one, though! HIV Halal Hamed's okay, just keep away from those nasty Hamsters!

I don't actually approve of small pets like mice and so on, as I see little point to keeping an animal you can't have a real emotional relationship with. They're just like toys, and you can't really do anything with them. Cats and Dogs are all you need. Exotic reptiles and so on are just ridiculous vanity pets.
"OOhh, look at my Boa Constrictor! Isn't she big!" a mate of mine said a while back.
"Yes, but she might as well be a bloody handbag for all the entertainment you get out of watching her sleep all day."

Mrs. Lyfing
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 03:37 PM
I agree Oswiu, I find pets like that to be pretty silly. I am terrified of snakes, so that's out anyways. I don't know how people sleep at night, with creepy crawlies in their house. :D

I do however like fish tanks, except for the hassle of cleaning them.

When I was a child my friend gave me her 2 hermit crabs, I kept them in a tank, they came with this little sponge thing I was to wet every couple days. Needless to say I forgot to wet their drinking sponge and they croaked...:D

They were quite ugly anyhow...:P

Makes me wonder if any one around here has any strange pets? :)

SouthernBoy
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 04:06 PM
We would not want any more killing sprees or massacres. Would we? ;)

QuietWind
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 04:41 PM
I don't actually approve of small pets like mice and so on, as I see little point to keeping an animal you can't have a real emotional relationship with. They're just like toys, and you can't really do anything with them. Cats and Dogs are all you need. Exotic reptiles and so on are just ridiculous vanity pets.


You obviously have never owned one! ;)

Oswiu
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 04:58 PM
You obviously have never owned one! ;)

We've had all sorts. Off the top of my head, Gerbils, Hamsters, Lizards, Guppies and Tetras, Cats, and a Dog. Dogs are the only ones that are fair on the animal, as they can at least TELL you when you're accidentally neglecting them.

QuietWind
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:08 PM
We would not want any more killing sprees or massacres. Would we? ;)

Actually, a child with an exotic pet would be less likely to go on a killing spree as the child in Australia did.

QuietWind
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:14 PM
We've had all sorts. Off the top of my head, Gerbils, Hamsters, Lizards, Guppies and Tetras, Cats, and a Dog. Dogs are the only ones that are fair on the animal, as they can at least TELL you when you're accidentally neglecting them.

My pets certainly tell me if I am neglecting them. Dogs are not the only ones. ;)

At present I have two semi-aquatic turtles. They each have their own distinct personalities. One was a rescue animal. I must confess that I favor the one over the other because of his personality, although at times I feel sympathy for the least favored.

SouthernBoy
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:14 PM
Actually, a child with an exotic pet would be less likely to go on a killing spree as the child in Australia did.Did I miss a peer-reviewed study?

QuietWind
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:18 PM
Did I miss a peer-reviewed study?

Must I find one? You should know me by now. ;)

But if I must, then I'll head off to the library promptly.

SouthernBoy
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:25 PM
Must I find one? It is not my place to tell you what you must and mustn't. :)

QuietWind
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:31 PM
It is not my place to tell you what you must and mustn't. :)

Fine....then you can go to the library. :) I'm sure that you have missed a peer reviewed study concerning children participating in the care of pets and their subsequent behavior towards those animals. You may also want to look up studies about children who abuse animals likely being victims of abuse themselves.

Ulf
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 06:26 PM
Makes me wonder if any one around here has any strange pets? :)

I kept tarantulas when I was younger. I only have one now though. I grew tired of them, there is no real emotional attachment other than watching it eat mice and crickets. The only one I really miss is my goliath bird eater. She was big, mean and hissed at me when I got out of line. She was close to 8" leg span and then our heater stopped working for a while in winter and she didn't make it.

I have ferrets. They're very clean and have litter boxes and are just as playful as a dog, and love to steal things and hide them.

In response to the article:
Having your immune system constantly tested from childhood is typically a good thing. Using disinfectants and such is bad for our bodies because it does not keep our immune system strong by killing antigens before they enter the body. Hooray for Secondary Immune (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immune_system) Response! Stop coddling your body and get a little dirty, it's good for you. :fbox:

Thrymheim
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 03:53 AM
as a child we had 13 cats 10 ferrets and a greyhound, also in for R and R several squirrels, leverets and a roe deer. I also kept African snails (lost them in the garden! it's ok the winters here kill 'em) tadpoles, and woodlice :) I didn't catch anything and apart from colds I still don't catch anything, I have been known to eat raw chicken (for a dare) and often nick uncooked bacon etc, guess what, I've never had any form of stomach trouble. Getting an exposure to germs is definitely good.