Surgeries are complicated but also necessary if you want to continue living a long, happy, and healthy life. Unfortunately, there are many complications along the way, and this is why it is highly important to strictly follow the doctor’s recommendations and avoid everything that could jeopardize your progress so far.
Although most doctors agree that patients can fully recover faster in their own homes with the support of their family and loved ones, one particular problem remains of concern – the presence of animals in the house.
Animals can carry powerful and dangerous bacteria or diseases, and this is why it is important to understand the risks and know what to expect.
Who shouldn’t keep their pets
We know that pets are part of the family and giving them up, even if it is for a little while, feels wrong and almost impossible. Unfortunately, people with weakened immune systems are prone to diseases and bacterial infections that can be easily spread in an unsanitary environment.
We don’t recommend people who take high doses of steroids or those who have an alcohol use disorder, cancer, leukemia, cirrhosis of the liver, organ transplant, HIV/AIDS or those who had their spleen removed to keep pets in their house. Fish and birds are as dangerous as rodents, felines, and dogs, as they can spread germs and bacteria faster.
However, instead of giving your pet to a shelter, we suggest thinking of alternative situations. Ask a close friend or relative to look after your beloved pawed friends while you are treating the post-operatory effects.
If you decide to keep your pet
Although all animals are viruses and disease carriers, some of them may be more dangerous than others. If you want to continue living with your pet even after you had surgery, you need to be aware of the infection risks and act accordingly.
Talk to a veterinarian
Keep in close contact with your vet and ask him or her for detailed information on all infections you might get from your pets. You should also ask the doctor to check all your pets for infectious diseases, pests, worms, and potentially harmful bacteria.
We recommend having all the animals surgically neutered or spayed. Spayed animals are less likely to roam, and, therefore, less likely to get diseases that can later be spread.
If you notice any signs of diarrhea, coughing, sneezing or the sudden loss of appetite, you should take your pet to the vet immediately to run some tests.
If you have a cat
Living with your cat after your surgery could be a challenging task, even though you don’t have to take the animal out for a walk or bathe it. Cats are more than happy to groom themselves and they love long naps, so you should expect limited interactions with it.
Even so, these animals are still disease carriers that can seriously damage your immune system and cause complications after the surgery.
That being said, you can keep your cat and play with it only after testing the feline for immunodeficiency viruses and leukemia. Although these viruses do not spread to humans, they can affect your pet’s immune system and determine the animal to become more prone to other infections that can be later spread.
Do not let your feline drink water from the toilet as several infections can be spread this way. You should also pay attention whenever you’re cleaning your pet’s litter box as certain bacteria are extremely dangerous for pregnant women and people with recent surgeries. It would be best to ask another member of the family to do this task for you and always wear gloves and wash the hands after getting in contact with the litter box.
Cats can spread Bartonella henselae, the bacterium responsible for the cat scratch disease, so always keep your pet’s nails short and trimmed.
Only feed your feline commercially prepared treats and foods or the ones you cook yourself. Raw meat, eggs, and fish can be infected with salmonella. Toxoplasmosis is another dangerous infection that occurs if your pet eats wild animals, including rats and mice, so keep your predator inside the house at all times and feed it kibbles or home-cooked meals.
What about exotic animals?
Adopting exotic animals puts you and your health at risk even more than living with a regular pet. These animals are more likely to bite and can carry rare diseases. Depending on where you live, even certain rodents can be considered as exotic animals and shouldn’t be kept as pets. Gerbils, as adorable as they may seem, are as dangerous as rats and mice, so don’t go buying cages and toys for your gerbil just yet. As we previously mentioned, we recommend talking to a vet before adopting any new animal.