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ANIMALS | Pets and health

Four strange ways your pet can make you sick


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 4:24 PM - Pets make our lives richer. They provide support, friendship and laughter. Unfortunately, they can also make us sick in very strange ways.

Here are four examples -- but before we continue it's important to remember that, under normal circumstances, pet ownership is overwhelmingly safe (and rewarding!)

Keeping that in mind, let's proceed ...

FAMILY AND PETS ALMOST KILLED AFTER FISH TANK CLEANING

In April it was reported that ten people and two pets were almost killed by a rare and deadly toxin that was released into the air after a fish tank was cleaned.

During the cleaning process Chris Matthews of Oxfordshire, U.K. scraped the surface of a coral called pulsing xenia and inadvertently freed the toxin. The next day the family experienced trouble breathing and coughing. 

All six residents of the house were hospitalized along with four firefighters and two dogs.




"If we had spent another night in that bedroom our lives would have been in danger," Matthews said via the Oxford Mail. "Certainly our dogs would have been in a very bad way according to the vet."

Matthews, who is an experienced aquarium keeper, says wants to warn others about the dangers of keeping the coral.

(RELATED: Here's why it's harmful to give your dog hot dogs)

"I knew about palytoxin, which can kill you if ingested, and that coral can cause things like rashes if you don't handle it carefully but I had no idea taking the pulsing xenia out of the water could make the toxin airborne," he told the mail.

"The information is not readily available online in a way people can easily understand and more needs to be done when people are buying these corals."

PARASITE IN CAT POOP COULD MAKE YOU FEARLESS

An estimated 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that enters your home through cat feces.

According to a new study, the parasite can infect a human who comes into direct contact with cat feces or an object contaminated with it.

(RELATED: How old is my pet in dog or cat years?)

"The most common place it likes to go is in your brain," Dr. Stephanie K. Johnson, an associate professor of management at the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business, told CNN. "There's a lot of us walking around with this in our brain."

While some infected people will come down with flu-like symptoms, others will feel fine. The parasite stays in the body indefinitely.

In mice, toxoplasma makes them less afraid of cats and humans can exhibit fearlessness as well. Johnson said infected people have been known to engage in road rage incidents, and may be more prone to suicide or schizophrenia.



MAN LOSES BOTH LEGS AFTER BEING LICKED BY A DOG

A Wisconsin man lost his limbs earlier this month after contracting an infection caused by dog saliva.

Greg Manteufel, 48, went to the emergency room with what he believed was the flu. While there, his blood pressure dropped and blood circulation to his limbs decreased. The lack of circulation was so extreme doctors had no choice but to amputate his legs.

(RELATED: Does your pet have seasonal allergies?)

Doctors say the vast majority of dog owners will never have this problem and Manteufel was simply a victim of bad luck.

BIRDS AND LUNG DISEASE

Bird fancier's lung (BFL) is an inflammation of the lungs caused by proteins that can be found in the dust of bird droppings and occasionally in their feathers.

Pigeons, parakeets, cockatiels, shell parakeets, parrots, turtle doves, turkeys and chickens are known carriers.

Symptoms of BFL include chills, fever, breathlessness and coughing. The condition can be fatal if left untreated.

Removing all birds, as well as any bedding, sleeping bags or coats that contain feathers, and washing all furnishings can reduce symptoms, along with the help of prescription inhalers.

MUST SEE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PETS AND TICKS



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