Potential risks caused to children by our pets

IN light of the recent outbreak of E coli, some parents are understandably concerned about the risks to children from household pets. E coli are part of the normal bacteria found in a pet s intestine. Pets may not show any symptoms but can pass on the ba

IN light of the recent outbreak of E coli, some parents are understandably concerned about the risks to children from household pets.

E coli are part of the normal bacteria found in a pet's intestine. Pets may not show any symptoms but can pass on the bacteria to people - if good hygiene is not observed.

The good news is that the spread of infection from pets to people can largely be prevented by washing hands thoroughly, especially before eating.

Parents should instil in their children the importance of good hygiene. This includes watching children after they have played with a pet so that they don't put dirty fingers into their mouths. It also includes kissing dogs


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Interaction with animals is an important part of children's development and should be encouraged. However, it is important to remember the potential risks present and take steps to ensure that this contact can be enjoyed safely.

ELAINE PENDLEBURY

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Senior Veterinary Surgeon, PDSA

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