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The Pediatric Forum |

Parent and Pediatrician Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Regarding Pet-Associated Hazards

Rodrigo G. Villar, MD; Megan Connick, MD; Leslie L. Barton, MD; Francis J. Meaney, PhD; Melinda F. Davis, MA MEd
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(10):1035-1037. doi:10.1001/archpedi.152.10.1035.
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Pets, present in more than half the households in the United States, provide emotional and physical benefits to their owners.1,2 However, pet-associated human illnesses and injuries cause significant morbidity and mortality, incurring substantial economic costs for owners and insurance companies. The most costly pet-associated health hazards, Salmonella gastroenteritis, congenital toxoplasmosis, and animal bites,3,4 are potentially preventable with appropriate knowledge and precautions.58 We hypothesize that there is a lack of awareness of pet-associated health risks among parents, and that pediatricians do not educate their patients about the health risks involved in owning a pet. This study assesses parents' and pediatricians' knowledge of specific pet-related risks, identifies the sources of this information, and examines pediatricians' attitudes regarding education about pet-associated health risks.

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