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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Preventing Infections from your Pet. Kepping You and Your Pet Healthy

Preventing Infections from Your Pets
Kepping You and Your Pet Healthy

First and foremost, you DO NOT have to give up your pets. Secondly, HIV CAN NOT be spread by, or to your pets. While the risk of infection from your pets is real, taking a few simple precautions is all you need to do in order to own your pets safely.

Should I keep my pets?
Yes. Most people with HIV can and should keep their pets. Owning a pet can be rewarding can help you feel psychologically and even physically better. For many people, pets are more than just animals; they are like members of the family. However, you should know the health risks of owning a pet or caring for animals. Animals may carry infections that can be harmful to you. Your decision to own or care for pets should be based on knowing what you need to do to protect yourself from these infections.

What kinds of infections could I get from an animal?
Animals can have cryptosporidiosis ("crypto"), toxoplasmosis ("toxo"), Mycobacterium avium complex ("MAC"), and other diseases. These diseases can give you problems like severe diarrhea, brain infections, and skin lesions. You can learn more about many of these diseases and how to prevent them from other brochures in this series. These are listed at the end of this brochure.

What can I do to protect myself from infections spread by animals?

• Always wash your hands well with soap and water after playing with or caring for animals. This is especially important before eating or handling food.
• Be careful about what your pet eats and drinks. Feed your pet only pet food or cook all meat thoroughly before giving it to your pet. Don't give your pet raw or undercooked meat. Don't let your pets drink from toilet bowls or get into garbage. Don't let your pets hunt or eat another animal's stool.
• Don't handle animals that have diarrhea. If the pet's diarrhea lasts for more than 1or 2 days, have a friend or relative who does not have HIV take your pet to your veterinarian. Ask the veterinarian to check the pet for infections that may be the cause of diarrhea.
• Don't bring home an unhealthy pet. Don't get a pet that is younger than 6 months old; especially if it has diarrhea. If you are getting a pet from a pet store, animal breeder, or animal shelter (pound), check the sanitary conditions and license of these sources. If you are not sure about the animal's health, have it checked out by your veterinarian.
• Don't touch stray animals because you could get scratched or bitten. Stray animals can carry many infections.
• Don't ever touch the stool of any animal.
• Ask someone who is not infected with HIV and is not pregnant to change your cat's litter box daily. If you must clean the box yourself, wear vinyl or household cleaning gloves and immediately wash your hands well with soap and water right after changing the litter.
• Have your cat's nails clipped so it can't scratch you. Discuss other ways to prevent scratching with your veterinarian. If you do get scratched or bitten, immediately wash the wounds well with soap and water.
• Don't let your pet lick your mouth or any open cuts or wounds you may have.
• Don't kiss your pet.
• Keep fleas off your pet.
• Avoid reptiles such as snakes, lizards, and turtles. If you touch any reptile, immediately wash your hands well with soap and water.
• Wear vinyl or household cleaning gloves when you clean aquariums or animal cages and wash your hands well right after you finish.
• Avoid exotic pets such as monkeys, and ferrets, or wild animals such as raccoons, lions, bats, and skunks.
• Important note: If you are bitten, you should seek medical advice.

I have a job that involves working with animals. Should I quit?
Jobs working with animals (such as jobs in pet stores, animal clinics, farms, and slaughterhouses) carry a risk for infections. Talk with your doctor about whether you should work with animals. People who work with animals should take these extra precautions:

• Follow your worksite's rules to stay safe and reduce any risk of infection. Use or wear personal protective gear, such as coveralls, boots, and gloves.
• Don't clean chicken coops or dig in areas where birds roost if histoplasmosis [his-to-plaz-MO-sis] is found in the area.
• Don't touch young farm animals, especially if they have diarrhea.

Are there any tests a pet should have before I bring it home?
A pet should be in overall good health. You don't need special tests unless the animal has diarrhea or looks sick. If your pet looks sick, your veterinarian can help you choose the tests it needs.

What should I do when I visit friends or relatives who have animals?
When you visit anyone with pets, take the same precautions you would in your own home. Don't touch animals that may not be healthy. You may want to tell your friends and family about the need for these precautions before you plan any visits.

Source: Adapted from brochures provided by the Centers for Disease Control, 2000.

Proper & Healthy Pet Care. Keeping You and Your Pet Healthy

Proper and Healthy Pet Care
Keeping You and Your Pet Healthy

We have all heard the saying "a dog is a man's best friend". Indeed, pets provide comfort, love and have been shown to help people cope with illnesses and stresses. But in order to have a healthy environment, people living with HIV/AIDS need to know how to care for their pets in a way that is healthy for them as well as their animals. Here are a few simple guidelines to follow.

• Wash your hands often, especially before eating, drinking, smoking, or tending to wounds.
• Keep your pet's sleeping and eating area clean.
• Have your pets groomed often, keeping their skin and fur clean and healthy. Keep your pet's nails well-trimmed.
• Avoid contact with your pet's bodily fluids (urine, feces, vomit, saliva, etc). Wear disposable gloves when cleaning up after your pet.
• Keep your pets off kitchen surfaces such as counter tops. Clean surfaces with a mild disinfectant before using or before preparing food.
• Don't let your pet lick your face or any open wounds.
• Immediately clean and treat animal bites or scratches.
• Wash and rinse with warm water
• Disinfect with betadine, iodine, peroxide, etc.
• Apply over the counter antibiotic cream
• Keep clean and dry
Be alert for any redness, heat, swelling, or fever. If so consult your doctor immediately.
• Schedule regular check-ups for your pet at a veterinarian. Make sure your pet's shots are up to date and complete. Get a complete check-up for your pet before bringing him home for the first time.
• Do not feed your pet raw or undercooked meat.
• Don't let you pets near their own feces or other animal's feces.
• Keep your pet out of the garbage and don't allow him to drink from the toilet.

Keep in mind that even if your pet is healthy, it can expose you to potential infection and illness. Here are some specific guidelines for your pets.

Proper Pet Care Guide. HIV Quick Facts

HIV Quick Facts - Proper Pet Care

These links will provide you with the proper pet care you need to know in order to be a healthy pet owner.

Caring for your Cat
Being Safe While Caring for Your Pet

Proper and safe care of your cat includes:
• Avoid cat scratches. If your cat scratches often, talk to your vet about ways to change your pet's behavior and tools you can use to guard against scratches.
• Never store your cat's litter box in the kitchen or near warm, dry places in your home.
• Change the litter box daily. Wear disposable gloves each time you change the box. Avoid inhaling any litter box particles.
• Disinfect the litter box once a month. For example, each month empty the litter box, fill it with boiling water and leave stand for 10 minutes to kill off any bacteria.
• If your CD4 count is extremely low (e.g.150-200) ask someone else to change the litter box for you.
• Keep your cat indoors. If your cat goes outdoors, don't allow him to hunt birds or rodents.

Caring for your Fish
Being Safe While caring for Your Fish

Caring for your fish properly and safely will keep you and your pet healthy.
• The most important guideline is to prevent contact with bacteria or other infectious agents in aquarium water.
• Always wear gloves when cleaning your fish tank.

Caring for your Bird
Being Safe While Caring for Your Bird

Guidelines for proper and safe bird care include the following:
• Before purchasing a large bird or parrot, have it thoroughly examined by a vet before bringing it home.
• Limit your exposure to bird droppings. Wear a mask to prevent breathing in small airborne particles of droppings.
• Never kiss your bird or let it have contact with your mouth.

Caring for your Reptile
Being Safe While Caring for Your Reptile

Proper and safe care of your pet reptiles include:
• Reptiles can carry Salmonella, often without showing signs of illness. The Salmonella germs can be anywhere on the reptile's body, therefore always use gloves when handling your reptile.
• Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your reptile even if gloves are worn.
• Never feed your reptile raw or undercooked meat. If you are feeding it live prey such as rodents, make sure the prey has been raised in a clean environment.

Proper & Healthy Pet Care
Preventing Infections from your Pet

Reduce the Risk of Injecting Drugs | HIV / AIDS |

Reduce the Risk...Tips for Injection Drug Users

The sharing of needles between injection drug users is a main source of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission. There are ways to reduce the risk to injection drug users, The Centers for Disease Control make several recommendations.

• Ideally, people who use injection drugs should be regularly counseled to stop using and injecting drugs.
• Enter and complete substance abuse treatment as well as relapse prevention.

For injection drug users who cannot or will not stop injecting drugs, the following steps may be taken to reduce personal and public health risks:

• Never reuse or "share" syringes, water, or drug preparation equipment.

• Only use syringes obtained from a reliable source (such as pharmacies or needle exchange programs).

• Use a new, sterile syringe each time to prepare and inject drugs.

• If possible, use sterile water to prepare drugs; otherwise, use clean water from a reliable source (such as fresh tap water).

• Use a new or disinfected container ("cooker") and a new filter ("cotton") to prepare drugs.

• Clean the injection site with a new alcohol swab prior to injection.

• Safely dispose of syringes after one use.

If people continue to inject drugs, then they must take other measures to reduce their risk and to stay healthy.

• Injection drug users and their sex partners also should take precautions, such as using condoms consistently and correctly.

• Persons who continue to inject drugs should regularly be tested for HIV.