Don’t kiss your pet

You don’t really want to do this:

Wired.com’s Superbug blog today highlights the findings of several Akron-area doctors who have been treating people with mysterious and serious ailments.

They found one common thread among all of the patients:

Patient 1: … the patient’s pet dog died several days previously, that the patient had provided palliative care to the terminally ill dog by dropper-feeding honey to the dog, and that the patient had co-consumed honey with the dog by licking the same dropper used to comfort-feed the dog.

Patient 2: … the patient’s pet cat had died 6 weeks previously and that the patient had continuously held, caressed, hugged, and kissed her cat during its last 7 days of life.

Patient 3: … 2 weeks prior to her illness, the patient had provided palliative care to her dying cat by holding, hugging, and kissing the head of the cat and allowing the cat to lick her hands and arms.

Apparently, the research papers says, these infections are the result of a trend away from putting a dog or cat to sleep at the end of their days, and hugging and kissing them instead:

With the emergence of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care as an organization supporting palliative pet care as an alternative to pet euthanasia and with the recent report that >50% of dog owners consider pets as family members and more often than not sleep in bed with them [12], it appears that we may be on the cusp of a potential increase in the number of recognized non-bite-associated P. multocida infections, including those associated with palliative pet care. Only diligence and very detail-oriented, pet-related histories will likely uncover further patients with invasive P. multocida infection related to the pet owner’s provision of palliative pet care to dying animals.

Pasteurella multocida lives quietly in the mouths of most cats, and two-thirds of dogs. About one-third of Pasteurella infections examined in one review went on to cause septic shock, which can be life-threatening. Pasteurella is a common infection in cat bites, but these appear to be the first infections linked to caring for a dying pet, Superbug reports.

  • Jim Shapiro

    This merits the infamous “serve’s ’em right” response.

  • Lil

    night all…time to snuglle in with my frail, elderly feline friend.