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By: Dr. Joshua Dr. Joshua

Ask a doctor before purchasing or handling exotic pets

Are you or someone you’re close to thinking about purchasing and exotic pet? While exotic pets are becoming more and more popular, we tend to forget the dangers they bring. How many of us know people that have a pet reptile or a pet rodent? Nowadays, even monkeys seem to find there way to our homes and our hearts. What is forgotten is to ask a doctor about the home health safety issues it could bring.

Many of us seldom know about the diseases these new found bundles of joy can bring to our home. For instance, did you know that parents with small children often report immune system problems when it comes to having reptiles as pets? Although this is something that should be addressed by a doctor, only 5 percent of the doctors warn their patients about this potential danger in their homes. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask a doctor who knows about these types of animals, before adopting one into your loving home.

According to the CDC, the written rule on nontraditional pets reads as follows; “Most nontraditional pets pose a risk to the health of young children, and their acquisition and ownership should be discouraged in households with young children" However, remember to keep in mind that like with any written rule there are always exceptions to a rule. Is any nontraditional pet a danger? The answer is of course not, it just depends on the type species you are looking at! This is why you should always ask a doctor about purchasing or visiting any nontraditional pets.
It is common knowledge that before buying a new automobile we talk to many people, and visit many car dealerships. So look at it this way, next time you are in Africa or even in Florida for that matter, and you find a pet that you would love to bring home, give the doctor a call, or even go online and ask a doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if it is a good idea, and how it would be done in the best way for you and your family, and of course the pet in question.

By doing this, problems like we have seen in 2003 with the outbreak of monkeypox that affected 20 people in the United States Midwest (which came from rats that someone brought home from Gambia) will be far less likely to happen in your home. Did you know that reptiles most often carry salmonella bacteria? This type of bacteria posses a serious health risk to children under the age of 5. It is reported today that the U.S. has 1.3 million reptiles, and over 88,000 mammals. The fact is that not all these owners have had the foresight to ask a doctor about those pets. Remember, if we all take better precautions when deciding to add a new pet to our family, we can make this a better world one pet at a time.

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Dr. Joshua Cetex is author of this article on Ask the doctor. Find more information about Back pain here.

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