A study in the medical journal Emerging Infectious Diseases has come to a startling conclusion- on the subject of pets at bedtime, you cannot has. Or at least, you should strongly reconsider.
Dr. Bruno Chomel is a professor of a field that apparently exists called zoonoses, working at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis. He co-authored the study, and says letting your pets in your bed is “not a good idea.” Most of the press focused on the report centers on dogs because, I’m assuming, telling a cat to stay out of anywhere isn’t really seen as a worthwhile pursuit.
Dr. Chomel says that out of the 250 horrible diseases that jump from other animals to human ones, 100 happily live in or on domestic pets, and there are the requisite horrifying examples to bolster the advice:
In one case a 69-year-old man, whose dog slept under the covers with him and licked his hip replacement wound, came down with meningitis. Another incident involved a 9-year-old boy who got plague, a potentially deadly bacterial infection, from sleeping with his flea-infested cat.
Other infections transmitted to people after sleeping with their cat or dog, kissing them or being licked by the pet include: hookworm, ringworm, roundworm, cat scratch disease and drug-resistant staph infections, the report said.
To recap: sleeping with pets can revisit the plague upon humanity. But before you go phoning up shelters, the same experts say pet ownership’s health benefits outweigh the risks. And pets aren’t the only villains in this scenario. Another expert quoted on the subject says that a cat owner gave his poor kitty H1N1 last season.