Pets and Your Safety Post-Transplant
Pets can be a great stress reliever and bring happiness to you after transplant; however, it is also important to realize that your pets can also carry many germs that have the potential to make you sick. It is important that you follow certain precautions after your transplant with your pets to ensure that you keep yourself and your pet safe, healthy, and infection free.
Keeping Your Pet Healthy:
Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly.
Keep pets immunizations up to date.
Feed pets healthy food and don’t let them drink from toilets or eat from the trash.
Keep your pets clean by bathing them frequently.
Regular flea & tick prevention is needed, especially for cats and dogs.
Any cat or dog that has diarrhea should be checked by a veterinarian for infection with Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
Keep pet cats indoors.
Do not pet stray cats.
Litter box should be kept away from food preparation areas.
Litter boxes should be cleaned frequently by someone other than the transplant recipient.
Aquarium should be cleaned by someone other than the transplant recipient.
Pets to Avoid
Reptiles, including lizards, snakes, and turtles (can carry salmonella in their stool).
Birds, including chicks and ducklings.
If you must have a bird, bird cage linings should be cleaned daily, by someone other than the transplant recipient.
It is recommended against birds as pets because of potential airborne infectious agents in their stool.
Hamsters and gerbils (or other animals that may bite).
Exotic pets, including monkeys.
Wild animals. Do not adopt wild animals as pets or bring them into your home (Animal bites/scratches can cause infections and fever).
More information can be found at this site.
Keeping yourself healthy
Practice good hygiene around your pets so they don’t pass germs to you.
Wash your hands thoroughly with running water and soap after handling animals.
Do not place litter boxes or pet cages in kitchens, dining rooms, or other areas where food is prepared and eaten.
Use caution if you come into contact with farm animals, including animals at petting zoos and fairs. Wash hands thoroughly. It is advised that you do not go into these type of exhibits.
Transplant recipients should:
Avoid contact with animal feces (i.e. do not pick up the dog poop).
Avoid cleaning cages, tanks, litter boxes, aquariums, etc.
If you must come into contact with one of these items, wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water.
Toxoplasmosis (a type of parasite infection) can be acquired many ways-through infected animals, from playing in infected sand boxes, or from playing with contaminated dirt. Avoid these things.
Avoid sharing a bed with a pet (due to increased risk for infection).
Avoid an animal licking their face or hands. If this occurs, wash with soap and water as soon as possible.
Avoid any direct contact with petting zoos, farm animals and their enclosures.
Avoid having food near, or eating by, the animals or their enclosures.
Exposure to farm animals causes risk for E. coli bacteria infection.
Children are at the greatest risk for serious complications caused by E. coli infection.