Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear Abby...

We have dogs and cats and guinea pigs and birds. Lately I have heard stories that after transplant some of these animals could be harmful to my health because of my immune system. This is alarming because I actually love some of these guys and spend a fair amount of time holding and petting them. Some rumors are that I might just have to get rid of them. Does anyone know if this is true?
                                                       Signed, Help!


  1. I do not know anything about this but in thinking about it I would assume you should not handle any litter cleanup.

    I know from my perspective that my cats are family members and I guess if their presence in my life was dangerous so be it. Life is short anyway. But I am sure that my view is a minority one.

  2. As you might remember, my husband had a liver transplant in June of 2008. We had and still have 5 cats, 1 dog, and a fish. Our daughter has recently added a rat to the mix. My husband holds the cats all the time, and has had no problems at all from this. We were told pre-transplant that he would never again be able to change the litter box, and he was so sad.....ha ha. Not a problem since he had never done it before anyway. ;) Don't rush to get rid of any animals. Of course go by what your drs. say, but I think sometimes they exagerate the precautions. Use common sense, but don't go overboard and think you have to live in a bubble. I think you will be surprised at how normal life will be.

    --Linda, Wichita

  3. Laoch, thanx

    Linda, that brightens my day and I will tell my children this. We have all been concerned about this and a little heart broken. All of us seemed to understand the litter box, and like your husband, I too was sadden. :-)
    I am worried about the guinea pigs. I'm thinking since they literally walk around in their poop and most often have sharp nails and have scratched me before, that handling them may not be the wisest thing I can do for myself. I'm not very worried about the birds. I don't handle them anyways. Plus my wife has dozens of fish and a 55 gallon fish tank. I don't mess with that at all. I helped move it once.
    Thanks so much. I hope that you are all doing well.

  4. From what I recall, it is a big NO to cleaning out animals and dealing with litter.
    As for handeling, I think its ok as long as you properly wash afterwards. I would be very careful in the first couple of weeks as that is when your immune system will be at its weakest. But as your medication levels are lowered the risks should lessen.

    But hygiene has to be paramount. No keeping pets in the kitchen or bedroom, no cleaning them and anti bacterial cleaner after handeling.

    The main concerns post transplant are in relation to bacteria, hence why they say no to bio yoghurt and food kept in hot counters. there are a few more things with bacteria, but feel free to prod me if you want more info. =]

  5. Our pets become family with so many things, we have to learn our limitations and go from there. Many people with allegies live with pets...weigh your options and then make a decision based on what both the facts and your heart tell you to do.

  6. When my husband Eric had his transplant in March, we were told that he could not have any contact with cats or birds or their litter whatsoever.

    And before he came home from the hospital, I had to let someone else take over our cat of nine years as the surgeon said it was too dangerous and risky to take any chances.

    We hated to lose our cat but we were not willing to take any risk with his health.

    He was given other rules to follow along with too such as no more drinking soda from a can, it must be out of a bottle to avoid the germs on the rim of cans. No more swimming in the ocean, etc...

    Maybe your doctor can give you some advice about your pets. I agree they are like family members to us. Good luck.