No matter how much a pet looks and no matter what place in the popularity rating it takes, it almost always turns into a full member of the family. And in this capacity, he can already bravely claim both gentle kisses, close hugs, and even a good half of the master’s pillow.
However, such tight bonds are fraught with zoonoses – diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. In order to protect yourself and your baby from trouble, during pregnancy, you should take a closer look at the smaller brothers.
Almost all expectant mothers have heard about toxoplasmosis. In animals and humans, it is caused by the same parasite – Toxoplasma, a protozoa class microorganism. So you can become infected both from people and from animals, and not only from cats.
The infection is carried in itself by dogs, birds, and rabbits, and arthropods spread it mechanically.
Sputum, saliva, vomit, urine, feces of infected people and animals, as well as infected animal products that have not undergone heat treatment (unboiled fresh milk, poorly roasted or raw meat and fish) are dangerous. Contrary to popular belief, a person most often acquires toxoplasmosis not from pets, but through food.
So, many housewives have a habit of trying raw minced tongue to determine if there is enough salt in it, and some of them are not afraid to buy fresh milk on the market. Nevertheless, the risk of catching an infection from a pet still exists. There are cases of transmission by airborne droplets, for example, by inhalation of fecal fumes during the cleaning of the cat tray.
The disease can also be transmitted through the placenta from the mother to the baby.
Symptoms of toxoplasmosis are very similar to the common cold. The infection is accompanied by fever, general weakness, decreased performance, enlarged lymph nodes, sometimes headaches, less often vomiting. In the absence of treatment, the nervous system, the lymph nodes, the heart, the eyes, are affected primarily.
And although it is quite easy to get rid of toxoplasmosis, the main problem is that doctors rarely fall on it.
For mom, with proper treatment, the infection is not dangerous, but the baby may be hit.
Much depends on the duration of pregnancy: the more it is, the less risk. In the early stages, toxoplasmosis can lead to miscarriage, in the first trimester or at the beginning of the second – to the formation of congenital deformities in the child, in the third – to premature birth.
However, not everything is so scary. Tests for toxoplasmosis, each expectant mother must do at least 2 times during pregnancy: the first time you contact a antenatal clinic and at the 30th week of the term.
If the blood test shows that the woman has never met with this infection, she will be advised to check the pet and triple the alertness in everyday life. The infected animal will need to be isolated and treated.
If it turns out that a woman was sick with toxoplasmosis before conception, this means that her body already has life-saving antibodies, which, if necessary, will protect the baby. But if the infection first happened during pregnancy, the expectant mother should go to the infectious diseases hospital.
It is only necessary to draw conclusions and make important decisions after consulting a professional. The infectious disease physician will explain that the number of antibodies to toxoplasmosis in the blood and the nature of the course of the disease are of fundamental importance, therefore a purely individual approach is required in each particular case.
If the situation is uncritical, the expectant mother will be treated with antibiotics.
Ornithosis is an acute infectious disease. It is characterized by general intoxication, damage to the lungs, nervous system, enlargement of the liver and spleen. Carriers of infection are domestic and wild birds.
Currently, the causative agent of ornithosis is isolated from more than 140 species of birds. Domestic birds (canaries and parrots) and city pigeons are the most dangerous.
The causative agent of the disease – the chlamydia bacterium. You can become infected with ornithosis by contact with sick people or birds.
The infection is transmitted by airborne droplets.
For example, it is quite enough to change the feed or clean the sick pet’s feeder in order to inhale dust contaminated with particles of feces and nasal mucus of the sick bird. Despite the fact that the infection does not penetrate from mother to baby through the placenta, in the early stages of pregnancy, its severe form can lead to miscarriage.
In addition, ornithosis often leads to the development of severe pneumonia, against the background of which severe intoxication can begin. And intoxication (poisoning of the blood with toxins – poisonous waste products of harmful bacteria and viruses) threatens the baby with hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
The symptoms of ornithosis are as follows: the first 2 days are marked malaise, nausea, pain in the joints. Then the chill begins, the temperature rises, an ache appears in the whole body, a strong cough begins.
In the final stage, ornithosis usually leads to the development of pneumonia, which is why it is very difficult for doctors to make the correct diagnosis. Although an experienced infectious disease specialist is sure to ask leading questions.
So, he will inquire if you have recently picked up a wounded bird, or if a pigeon, which you then picked up, flew into your balcony.
Next is the case of technology: the doctor will make an accurate diagnosis by blood or sputum analysis. Treatment of ornithosis rarely takes place quickly and easily, and hospitalization in an infectious hospital is always required.
Antibiotics also allow attack.
Helminths are found in animals of all stripes. Pets are infected with worms through raw meat, fish, flies, rodents.
From dogs that love to rummage through dirt, and from cats that hunt flies and mice, a person picks up helminthiasis more often than from other animals. Although there is another, more likely way of infection.
Eating dishes from raw meat and fish leads to helminthiasis much more often than contact with a sick pet.
Symptoms that should be alerted are: weight loss, allergic reactions (for example, skin rashes), causeless fever, weak pains around the navel.
Helminthiasis during pregnancy is dangerous for the baby, especially the high intoxication of the mother’s body. Like harmful bacteria, helminths produce waste products – toxins. These toxic substances enter the mother’s blood and from there to the baby.
If the intoxication is very strong, in the infected blood the concentration of oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for the child to develop properly is reduced, and this is fraught with hypoxia.
Self-healing is harmful in any case, especially when it comes to antihelminthic drugs. Even outside of pregnancy, doctors prescribe them to patients with great care, because these drugs pose a serious burden on the liver. If the expectant mother has any suspicions, it is necessary to consult a doctor.
First you have to pass an analysis of feces. Only if the fears are confirmed, will the infectious disease doctor select the safest drug and adjust its optimal dose.
Simple rules will help protect against zoonoses:
1) During the first year of a pet’s life, it is necessary to show the vet 3-4 times a year, and an adult animal 2 times a year. Even if the pet is one hundred percent homebody, the calendar of veterinary vaccinations is important to follow.
2) Observe personal hygiene: after each contact with the pet, wash your hands with soap, do not sleep with him in the same bed, do not kiss him. Birds do not feed from the mouth.
3) Do not allow a pet to drink running water. If possible, do not feed it with raw fish, meat and especially tripe (pathogens of many infections settle in large quantities in the liver, kidneys and lungs).
Do not let him eat excrement.
4) All 9 months it is not recommended to use raw eggs, meat, fish, try stuffing tongue, drink fresh milk, eat unpasteurized dairy products. So you can avoid toxoplasmosis and another no less dangerous disease for the baby – listeriosis, which is carried by farm animals.
Cereals should also be thoroughly washed, as wild rodents – carriers of many dangerous diseases, are keenly interested in them.
5) During the walks, the ducks bypass, do not feed the pigeons, otherwise the probability of catching ornithosis is great. But the risk of taking the infection from poultry (if it lives with you for more than six months) is almost zero.
6) As a prevention of helminthiasis, you should regularly show your pet to a veterinarian, carry out de-worming in time (especially during the vaccination period) and strictly follow the rules of household hygiene.