Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Protecting Your Pet: Cats and Pregnancy
In tonight's protecting your pet...We're busting a common myth for pregnant women. Expectant moms are often told to get rid of their cats. But as health anchor Marilyn Mitzel shows us babies and kitties can co-exist.
WSVN: Nine months: "You know the kooshka...Meow...yes we have a cat...You must get rid of it....what????"
Scenes like this only re-enforce the "myth" that moms-to-be must avoid cats.
Susan Sardo: "He's the buttons...That's what we call him."
Expecting her first child - Susan Sardo thought it was true.....
Susan Sardo: "All my friends and family were like get rid of the cats immediately they carry diseases."
A tough decision. Susan considers her three felines part of her growing family....
Susan Sardo: "It was not something I wanted to do. I have had these cats for 10 years."
But she really does not have to get rid of them. It is possible to have a baby and a cat in the house if you know how to play it safe. The concern...
Nine months: "Toxoplasmosis...Toxoplasmosis."
The toxo parasite is sometimes found in cat feces.
Dr. Tonya Higgins: "A cat gets tox. By hunting, eating infected prey."
Other animals can get and spread it too because it's almost everywhere...If a pregnant woman is infected it can cause miscarriage - severe birth defects - retardation or death in the unborn baby. But it's rare!
Dr. Tonya Higgins: "There's a low incidence of it occurring, you're more likely to get it from eating undercooked meat or gardening than from your cat."
To be safe....
Dr. Tonya Higgins: "The litter box is always a concern."
Have someone else clean it. If you must - wear gloves. Keep cats indoors limiting exposure to the parasite. Expectant moms may find comfort. Knowing because of previous exposure many of us are immune to toxo. They "can't" pass it to a fetus. A simple blood test can tell. It should be done before and during pregnancy.
Nine months: "Thank you much but skippy is old so i don't think there will be a problem in that direction - okay it's your choice."
Susan's doing everything she can to keep a healthy home for her future child and current pets.
Susan Sardo: "They're my babies, up until now. Um soon we'll have another baby, a real baby."
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