Don't Sleep with Your Pet, You May Catch Something

Article excerpt

Byline: From David Gardner in Los Angeles

LETTING sleeping dogs lie in your bed can make you sick, research suggests.

Pet owners may increase the chances of contracting everything from worms to the bubonic plague.

Of the 250 known diseases transmitted from animals to humans, more than 100 of them come from domestic animals, researchers say.

'In many countries, pets have become substitutes for childbearing and child care, sometimes leading to excessive pet care,' said Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California school of veterinary medicine.

'There are private places in the household, and pets should not go beyond next to the bed.

'Having a stuffed animal in your bed is fine, not a real one.' Among the more serious medical problems animal lovers risk by snuggling up to their pets are chagas disease, which can cause lifethreatening heart and digestive system disorders.

Cat-scratch disease is another problem. It can come from being licked by infected felines, and can cause lethal damage to the liver, kidney or spleen.

A nine-year-old boy from Arizona even caught the plague because he slept with his flea-infested cat, according to the report. And a 48-year-old man and his wife repeatedly contracted antibiotic-resistant MRSA from their dog because it 'routinely slept in their bed and frequently licked their faces', the researchers said.

Prof Chomel and co-author Ben Sun, chief veterinarian for California's health department, cited surveys from Britain, the U.S., France and Holland.

Their study, published in the U.S.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, also found several cases of infections transmitted through planting a kiss on a pet. …