Hudson Valley Parent

HVP May 2017

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6 Hudson Valley Parent n May 2017 Publisher TERRIE GOLDSTEIN Editor SARA DUNN Executive Assistant to the Publisher BRITTANY L. MORGAN Media Advisors CHRISTY OLIVIER MATTHEW SILVERMAN Community Liaison PAMELA PERRY Traf f ic Manager PAM SOSCIA Layout & Design ENGLE PRINTING also publishers of MY family MY family Hudson Valley Parent is published monthly by: The Professional Image Marketing & Public Relations Inc. 174 South Street • Newburgh, NY 12550 Phone: 845-562-3606 • Fax: 845-562-3681 This publication is copyrighted by the publisher. Reproduction without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Hudson Valley Parent welcomes submissions, although we cannot accept responsibility for work submitted nor guarantee publication. I n this issue writer Mallika Rao speaks with veterinarians and par- ents (including a pediatri- cian) about what to do to prepare pets for the arrival of a newborn. While many parents are able to navigate this tran- sition successfully, others decide they no longer feel comfortable having a pet in the home. With 7.6 million dogs and cats arriving at animal shelters each year, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted a study to find out the reasons why. The study found that 27 percent are related to "family sit- uations," including when a newborn arrives home. While there are valid reasons that an animal could pose a risk to a very young child, there is also some evi- dence that not only are some fears unfounded, but that having a cat or dog in the home may actually have positive health benefits for babies. Many pregnant woman are warned that they are at risk of con- tracting toxoplasmosis, a rare para- sitic disease, from their cats that can be transmitted to their unborn child, potentially leading to miscarriage or malformation. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that it is not necessary to get rid of a family cat due to preg- nancy, because "people are more likely to get [toxoplasmosis] from eating raw meat or from gardening." With that said, pregnant women are instructed to not touch or change litter boxes. To further allay parents' fears, medical research- ers in Finland found that having a well-behaved dog or cat in the home has a positive impact on a baby's health. The study, which was published in the peer-re- viewed medical journal Pediatrics, followed 397 children from pregnancy through the age of 12 months and tracked their interaction with the family pet. "Babies who are in close contact with dogs or cats during their first twelve months of life were found to enjoy better health and were less likely to suffer from respiratory in- fections, compared to those without any pets in the house or no close contact with these animals," the report says. In addition, babies who interacted with dogs needed shorter courses of antibiotics when they were sick and have a considerably lower frequency of ear infections. Researchers say cats provided benefits, too, but less so than dogs. All of this is something to keep in mind before making the decision to rehome your pet because of the ad- dition of the most precious member of your growing family. But if expectant parents decide it's what is best for them, we as fami- ly, friends and co-workers should reserve judgment and help them to find a new, happy home for their pet by tapping into our social networks, both online and in real life. A new baby doesn't mean saying goodbye to a pet SARA DUNN Editor's Journal

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