Chapter 8 : Less Common House Pets

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This chapter focuses on the most common "house pets" (but not every species that can be kept as pets) and the major health threats that they can represent. Only a brief discussion at the end of the chapter is devoted to more uncommon pets, especially ferrets and primates. However, because of the outbreak of monkeypox in prairie dogs and humans which occurred in the spring of 2003 in the United States, a few words are devoted to the risk of ownership of exotic pets. Zoonoses potentially transmitted by pet rabbits and rodents have been discussed. The main pathogens acquired topically from fish (through spine puncture or open wounds) are , , , , , , and . Despite the fact that ferrets are enjoyable pets, much concern has been raised following severe injuries to children by ferrets kept as house pets. In a recent study of non-occupational-exposure incidents involving macaques in the United States, children were more than three times as likely to be bitten as adults. Herpes B virus must be assumed to be a potential health hazard from macaque bite wounds; this risk makes macaques unsuitable as pets.

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 1

A pet African pygmy hedgehog (source: http://www.farscapeweekly.com/weblog/archive/2008_08_01_archive.html). Photo credit: Joan O. Hedman (with permission).

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 2

Poster from the California Department of Health Services on safe handling of pet reptiles. (Source: Ben Sun, Veterinary Public Health Unit.)

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8
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Zoonoses potentially transmitted by pet rabbits and rodents

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8
Generic image for table

Major zoonoses potentially transmitted by reptiles and aquarium fishes

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8
Generic image for table

Major zoonoses transmitted by ferrets

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8
Generic image for table

Major zoonoses transmitted by nonhuman primates

Citation: Chomel B. 2009. Less Common House Pets, p 193-220. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch8

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