A Warning for Parents with Pet-Loving Kids

That’s my daughter with her pet snake.

Okay, that slithery creature never actually made it home with us.  Thank goodness!  However, other slimy critters have sauntered, swam and slipped into our lives due in large part to my child’s obsession with being a pet owner.

We’ve had Lola, Pongo, Charlie and Charlie II.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of exotic animals, but when you are a parent of a pet-loving kid, you learn to master the fine art of sacrifice.

You also learn the importance of doing research on the type of varmint your child so desperately wants to bring home.

It’s a lesson some parents learn the hard way.

Recently, a slew of young kids and adults got severely ill after purchasing diseased African dwarf frogs raised at a California breeding facility.  Many of the kids were under the age of 10 and had no idea their new pets were infected with salmonella.  According to reports, about 30 percent of the sickened frog owners were hospitalized. Fortunately, none died.

Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigating the infected frogs noted that children are especially vulnerable to salmonella, which causes debilitating bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever.  In this case, most of the kids got ill through contact with contaminated water from the aquariums the frogs were living in.

CDC officials warn parents to be cautious when allowing children to own pets that come in contact with water including frogs, turtles, chicks and ducklings.  Anyone exposed to animals whose habitats feature water should thoroughly wash their hands with soap after touching or handling the pets and the objects with which the animals come into contact with, such as litter for chicks and ducklings, and terrarium materials for frogs and turtles.

What’s more, health experts implore parents to make sure their children don’t kiss the aforementioned pets.

Kind of makes that expensive four-legged furball at the pet store look a little more enticing, no?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.