Posts Tagged ‘rodents’

Thinking of a hamster for a gift?

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

pet-hamsterIf your home is small and you don’t have room or are allergic to dogs or cats, many children like hamsters or guinea pigs. Rodents, such as mice, hamsters and guinea pigs, are popular pets in lots of homes. But women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant should be very careful with rodents. These animals may carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV).

The house mouse, a wild rodent found near and in homes, is the main source of the virus. Pets like hamsters and guinea pigs can become infected with LCMV after being in contact with wild rodents at a breeding facility, pet store or home.

People can get LCMV through contact with a rodent’s urine, blood, saliva, droppings or nesting materials. The infection can also spread when a person breathes in dust or droplets that have LCMV. (Examples: while sweeping up mouse droppings or cleaning out the hamster cage.) Pregnant women who get LCMV can pass it to their unborn baby. LCMV can cause severe birth defects or even loss of pregnancy.

Pregnant moms can lower their chance of getting LCMV by:
– Keeping pet rodents in a separate part of the home
– Asking another family member to care for the pet and clean its cage
– Washing hands with soap and water after handling pet rodents
– Keeping rodent cages clean and free of soiled bedding
– Cleaning the cage in a well-ventilated area or outside
– Keeping pet rodents away from your face
– Avoiding contact with wild rodents

If a house has rats or mice, taking care of the problem quickly with either mouse traps or calling a professional pest control company (talk to your health care provider before using any pest control chemicals in your home) is important.

If you have children, especially under the age of 5:
– Be sure an adult closely watches them when they are around pet rodents.
– No one should kiss pet rodents or hold them close to the face.
– Anyone who plays with the animals or cleans their cages or bedding should wash their hands afterwards.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information, including how to safely handle pet rodents and clean cages.   For more information on pets and other animals during pregnancy, click on this link.

Pets during pregnancy

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

lola-2My husband and I had a recent addition to our home. Her name is Lola – a 4-month-old Boston Terrier that we adopted from an animal rescue center. Lola is such a cutie pie! She’s as playful as any other puppy and loves to cuddle when I pick her up. As the first addition to our family, Lola knows she’s the star of the show. But one day, when my husband and I are getting ready to welcome our first baby into the world, Lola will have to make room!

Pets can bring much fun and joy to the household dynamic. But pregnant women and mommies with young kids need to be careful about the kinds of animals they keep in their home and particularly how to handle them. Some things to keep in mind:

• Dogs with bad habits (biting or pouncing) should be broken of these habits before the baby arrives.

• If you have a cat, have someone else change its litter box to avoid getting toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. This infection can cause birth defects or loss of pregnancy.

• Hamsters, guinea pigs and pet mice may carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), which can cause severe birth defects during pregnancy. Keep these pets in a separate part of the home and have someone else feed the pet and clean its cage.

Turtles, reptiles and other exotic pets may carry salmonellosis (salmonella infection). Pregnant women and children under age 5 are at increased risk of this bacterial infection, so it’s best if they stay away from these kinds of animals.

Learn more and get helpful tips about how to handle pets and other animals during pregnancy.

ABC’s of a healthy pregnancy, R–Z

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

This is the final post in our series, the ABC’s of a healthy pregnancy.  Please read our previous posts on guidelines A–G and H–Q to help increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

R:  Rodents, including pet hamsters, mice and guinea pigs, should be avoided during pregnancy.  These animals can spread diseases that can harm your baby.

S:  Stressing out?  Pregnancy is a stressful time for many women.  Very high levels of stress may contribute to preterm birth or low birth weight in full-term babies. Recognize that you do indeed feel stressed and, when possible, avoid situations that cause you stress.

T:  Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite and can pose serious risks to a woman’s unborn baby. Stay away from raw or undercooked meat, especially lamb or pork.  Wash hands frequently and avoid handling cat litter.

U:  The urge to urinate often increases in pregnant women.  To help deal with frequent urination, avoid caffeine beverages such as coffee or tea that can make you urinate more frequently.

V:  Vaccines can protect you and your baby against infections that can be harmful.  If you are pregnant or planning pregnancy, ask your health provider if your vaccinations are up to date.  Find out which vaccines you should consider taking before or during pregnancy.

W:  How much weight a pregnant woman should gain depends on her health and body mass index (BMI).  Calculate your BMI using your height and weight before pregnancy.  Women with a normal BMI should expect to gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy.   Women who are overweight and have a high BMI should gain between 15-25 pounds.

X:  X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy.  If you need to have dental work or medical tests done while pregnant, tell your provider so extra care can be taken.

Y:  Your body may experience several changes during pregnancy including your hair, gums and teeth, breasts and skin.  These changes are common and women can take steps to alleviate their symptoms to feel more comfortable.

Z:  Get your ZZZZZs. Most women are more tired than usual during pregnancy, especially during early and late pregnancy.  Get plenty of rest. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a warm shower, napping during the day, going to bed earlier and using pillows to make you comfortable.