Q: My two Jack Rusells are very close to me. We sleep together on the same bed. It is alright? Will I contact any illness or diseases from them?
A: Zoonotic diseases (diseases which can be passed from animals to humans and from humans to animals) are rather rare in domestic pets and the most common that we see are worm infestations crossed over from pets to children due to unhygienic habits. The most serious zoonotic disease that we need to be aware of ofcourse is rabies and this can occur in domestic animals that are in contact with wildlife and that have not been properly vaccinated. Singapore is rabies free.
Proper hygiene should be practised and care taken to separate pets’ eating and drinking utensils away from our own. Make sure that animals do not carry any faecal material (ie dried faeces stuck on the anus of the dog or cat) onto the bed. If these precautions are observed having a pet in the bed is probably ok unless you are allergic to their fur. I personally recommend that animals that share their bed with us are groomed and washed regularly and that at least their paws, face and private parts are wiped with a damp cloth to prevent any materials from outside or the cat litter being brought to the bed.
Author: Dr. Jean-Paul Ly
Date: Published on Wednesday, 13 June 2012