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Thread: Doctors: No Hamsters or Exotic Pets for Young Kids

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    Doctors: No Hamsters or Exotic Pets for Young Kids

    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/...ed_exotic_pets
    "We've become a nation of strangers. There seems to be very little in common to bond us to our fellow Americans outside of our immediate families,some don't even have that to fall back on."

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    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."

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    Senior Member Mrs. Lyfing's Avatar
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    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.

    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...

    They were quite ugly anyhow...


    Makes me wonder if any one around here has any strange pets?
    "We've become a nation of strangers. There seems to be very little in common to bond us to our fellow Americans outside of our immediate families,some don't even have that to fall back on."

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    We would not want any more killing sprees or massacres. Would we?






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    Quote Originally Posted by Oswiu

    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!
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuietWind View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy
    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.
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oswiu
    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.
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuietWind View Post
    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?






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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy
    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.
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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