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Thread: Lupus and pets

  1. #1
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    Default Lupus and pets

    Seeing Kathleen's picture of her very cute kitty and Val's post about breathing problems made me think about this. I love my animals dearly and wouldn't give them up for any reason, but lupus patients, especially ones on immunosuppressants, need to take some precautions around our pets - and I'm willing to bet very few doctors ever mention it because they just don't think about it. So I'd like to know what, if anything, your doctors have told you about pet safety, or even food safety? :?:

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    Hi Marycain,
    I love my cat very much. I am on immunosuppresents and my doctor just basically told me to be careful around the cat's litterbox due to Toxoplasmosis. I throughly wash my hands right after cleaning out her box. I also keep her shots up to date and I do not let her out of the house at all. I had her declawed on the front paws so she can not scratch me. She is very gentle. I also had her spayed. If you are careful you can have animals. You just have to be careful around the litterbox. My kitty is a real sweetheart. Hugs, Kathleen


    I want to put another picture of her in here.[img][/img]
    Live one day at a time: It's easier that way

    Dx with SLE in 1994
    Dx with Sjogrens 1994
    Dishydrotic Eczema 1974
    Severe Osteo-Arthritis

    Meds:
    Imuran 125mg
    Plaquenil 400mg
    Sulindac (Clinoril) 400mg
    Soma prn up to 4 times a day
    Darvacet prn

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    Kathleen, she is a cutie pie! But ideally, someone else needs to be changing the kitty litter, especially if you're taking immunosuppressants - imuran, cellcept, prednisone, methotrexate, rituxan, humira, cytoxan, etc. If you have to change the litter, you should wear a mask because toxoplasmosis is most often contracted by inhaling the spores present in the cat litter dust and the cats' feces. So washing your hands, while helpful, won't keep you from getting the fungus in your lungs, especially if your litter box isn't hooded. Unfortunately, most docs just say to "be careful" and leave it at that.

    Any disease that can be transmitted from an animal to a human or vice versa is called a "zoonosis" - and some of them like cat scratch fever can be fatal. So can Cryptococcus, which is found in the droppings of pigeons, canaries, parakeets and parrots. A teaspoon of pigeon droppings can have as many as 300 million Cryptococcus spores, so if you live in a city with a lot of pigeons, steer clear! In the Ohio River valley where I live, about 80% pf people test positive for exposure to histoplasmosis from bats and blackbirds - in California coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is more common. So these types of fungal infections are very common - but they don't usually bother healthy people, unfortunately, people with lupus do have to be more careful. We are also at higher risk for food borne illnesses, so that's another area where we have to be extra cautious.

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    Hi Marycain,
    I hear what you are saying. My husband refuses to clean the litter box. Do you think that if I bought a box of paper face masks that that would work? I really would hate to have to give up my kitty. My children are grown now and on their own. I will also purchase a hooded litterbox. I just would really hate to have to give her away. She is such a sweet cat and she is so friendly towards me. She is not friendly towards strangers as she is very skittish of people that she does not know. She has no fleas at all. Oh I am so sad and I really don't want to give her away. What would you recommend that I do?

    I don't live in a major city, so I don't have a problem with pigeons. In fact I have never seen one in Adel, GA. I know we had them around our house when I was a kid in NY and thank heavens we don't have those nasty birds here.

    I am very careful about food too big time. I had a bout with Salmonella about 6 years ago that nearly killed me, so I am very very careful about food and food handling big time.

    Well about the kitty, do you think that it would be in my best interest to find a home for her? I really don't want to get sick, you know what I mean. Hugs, Kathleen
    Live one day at a time: It's easier that way

    Dx with SLE in 1994
    Dx with Sjogrens 1994
    Dishydrotic Eczema 1974
    Severe Osteo-Arthritis

    Meds:
    Imuran 125mg
    Plaquenil 400mg
    Sulindac (Clinoril) 400mg
    Soma prn up to 4 times a day
    Darvacet prn

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    No, you certainly shouldn't give her away - all the research says that people with pets are healthier than people who don't have them, and live longer too! So definitely keep your baby. I have two indoor kitties, both rescues, and I use one of the self-cleaning automatic boxes with a hood - I got mine at Wal-mart, and it's called a LitterMaid, but there are other brands available. It's electric, and has a motion sensor that tells when the cats have visited, several minutes later it automatically rakes through the clumping litter - the soiled litter is swept into a plastic receptacle and the remaining litter is clean. So all I have to do is pop out the used plastic container and pop in a fresh one, and put clean litter in the box. I use a disposable mask just to be safe, but the box keeps the dust down. The kitties are happy because the litter box is always clean- I'm happy because I don't have to scoop.

    I used to take my kids to a local park that had lots of pigeons and squirrels, also ducks and geese - I don't do that any more, and I won't let the boys have a turtle because of salmonella. Hamsters, gerbils and guineas are pretty safe, they don't have anything people can catch easily,

    If you want to clean your cat's litter box, use just diluted bleach and water instead of lysol or pine oil based products - they contain phenol which can poison your cat.

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    Ok Mary,
    This sounds like a good idea and I am going to Walmarts and get one of those selfcleaning litter boxes. This makes me feel a lot better. Thanks for the advice. Kathleen
    Live one day at a time: It's easier that way

    Dx with SLE in 1994
    Dx with Sjogrens 1994
    Dishydrotic Eczema 1974
    Severe Osteo-Arthritis

    Meds:
    Imuran 125mg
    Plaquenil 400mg
    Sulindac (Clinoril) 400mg
    Soma prn up to 4 times a day
    Darvacet prn

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    Default Lupus and Pets

    My doctor did NOT mention the issue of pets (cat litter, in particular.) But I did read about it Daniel Wallace's book "The Lupus Book: A Guide for Patients and their Families." In it there is a caution to use disposable gloves and even masks when changing cat litter (or have someone else do it!) This is a great book, by the way. A wonderful reference.

    Jody
    "If you trust Google more than you trust your doctor than maybe it's time to switch doctors."

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    Yes, I think it's the one book every lupus patient should own as a reference. I hope he comes out with a new edition every couple of years to keep up with changes in research and treatment.

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    I don't have kitties anymore, just dogs. My husband always changed the cat box, and we used half kitty litter and half baking soda for the odor...I do miss my Coco though...what a lovie. I still get "kitty cravings" but she adopted another house about two houses down now and won't even come to me when I call her. Guess she likes it better there.
    My three dogs are a godsend to me. They are my constant companions. Each has his own personality, and his own place in the "pack" (I'm a Cesar Millan fan--anybody else?) what they give me for so LITTLE in return is amazing. when I don't feel well, they almost never leave my side. I think pets are so healthy for us, in ways medicine can't even measure.
    We will have new puppies soon....poor Marisol looks SO uncomfortable with six puppies in her, ready to come out ina few weeks. I can hardly wait. I just hope I can part with them after 8 weeks! They wlll make us money, but that's not why we did it. These are such beautiful, sweet dogs. our other two are rescues who let us know every day how much they appreciate us. Pets are hard to care for sometimes, but the health benefits and emotional benefits are uncountable!

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    Have you ever considered fostering a cat through the Military Pets Foster Service - they arrange "foster families" for pets whose owners are being deployed overseas and don't have any one to take care of their animals. A lot of servicemen and women have to give up their animals when they are sent overseas. This program lets them know their pet has a safe home and will be waiting for them when they come home. You could satisfy your kitty cravings without taking on a lifetime committment to a new pet, and make a serviceman's day at the same time.

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