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Living with Illness Coping with disease, getting help, dealing with family, staying optimistic, quality of life, hospice care

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Old Tue Oct 18, 2011, 06:19 PM
JArch417 JArch417 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Arlington VA
Posts: 2
AA and pets

I just finished my first round of ATG for AA this week, and my family is concerned because I have a 1yr. dog that my husband and I love dearly. They are afraid that the dog is going to make me sick, even though the docs said pets were okay. Can anyone offer additional information or tips that I can share with my family to ease their fears about our pup? I can't imagine not having him around. He keeps me active and cheers me up so I know I'd be miserable if I had to give him away.
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Old Tue Oct 18, 2011, 10:32 PM
Neil Cuadra Neil Cuadra is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 2,457
Hi JArch417.

You are sensible to ask this question, because there are two sides to the coin and different doctors may give different advice about it.

I suggest that you read the comments I posted here about having pets at home after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. The same comments could apply to anyone who is immunosuppressed and at risk of infection, including many patients who have just undergone ATG.

When a doctor gives advice about pets they are probably balancing two factors: your level of risk of infection, and what they know about the therapeutic value of having your pet around and your life as normal as possible.

It usually comes down to a personal decision. Unless the doctor advises staying away from pets, or you're too worried about the risk to enjoy your pet, it's a reasonable choice to keep your pet around, leave the litter box for someone else to handle, wash your hands frequently, and use common sense as you would with any potential source of infection, e.g., gardening, salad bars, or even children!

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that it's temporary. As you recover from ATG and your white count returns to normal you won't need to be quite as cautious. Even if you avoid your pet for a while you'll be pals again soon.
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Old Tue Oct 18, 2011, 11:07 PM
Ryan Jay Ryan Jay is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 106

I had my dog Oskar by my side while I was just blahhh after ATG.

I had no problems.
Ryan Jay: 38-yo, dx SAA: 7/25/10, ATG: 8/10/10. CR with counts still rising. HGB: 13, Plt: 137 WBC 5.1 ANC
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Old Wed Oct 19, 2011, 01:22 AM
Darice Darice is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 91

We were told before my husband's stem cell transplant that we could keep the pets we had (with me handling the litter boxes for the cats) but to not bring another pet into the household for one year. Unfortunately, our little dog, my husband's companion, died unexpectedly the week before we left for the transplant (we were in Omaha for just over 2 months), so we were dog-less for a year.
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Old Thu Oct 20, 2011, 02:03 PM
Lbrown Lbrown is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 361
I had ATG and nobody said anything to me about pets. I wouldn't have listened anyway. My little dog Suzy was 9 then, and 5 months later we got a new dog, so now we have 2. My WBC is around 0.5 now (no that is not a typo). I also have a horse. I didn't have the energy to go see him until a month after my ATG but only because I got sick with c difficile which I got FROM THE HOSPITAL - NOT from a dog or a horse or other pet, I might add. It is pretty unlikely to catch something from an animal. Aren't you more likely to catch something from another person?

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Old Thu Nov 3, 2011, 02:39 PM
julestheo julestheo is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: liverpool england
Posts: 25
I wasn't told to not have pets around after ATG although all the other information was give avoid crowds, salads, etc etc and I made the most of my little dog Harvey (shih tzu) as we had been seperated for 6 weeks due to treatment. He was a huge part of my recovery especially my state of mind they are so therepeutic, just take the precautions you would expect to take hand washing, hand gels etc and I totally agree with Neils advice. Enjoy your dog and a speedy recovery
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Old Fri Nov 4, 2011, 01:55 AM
Andrya D Andrya D is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 21
The doctors cautioned me about being around pets. In their opinion, it would be best not to have pets around. Our BMT coordinator knew that for most people that is not an option. I stayed with my in-laws who have 2 small cockapoos. As long as they were jumping on me and licking me and they were up to date on their shots and got bathed regularly, they were fine to be around. I would not let your pet sleep in the bed with you or sleep in the bed when you are not around.
Andrya D., mother to Kellan (3/22/2011)
Severe Aplastic Anemia (12/2010); MDS (7/2011); PNH (7/2011); BMT (7/27/2011)
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Old Fri Nov 4, 2011, 10:20 AM
evansmom evansmom is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 203
When Evan went through ATG, our dogs didn't even come into question. I believe that was because Evan's immune system was still intact and his biggest enemy was his own bacteria over growing and causing his neutropenic fevers. Evan had been living with his beloved bichons for 6 years prior to his AA diagnosis so they really weren't a threat.
Now post BMT, Evan's main doc and the BMT orientation booklet maintained a no pet policy for 3 months. When I questioned this policy as it pertained to our indoor non-shedding frequently shamppoed bichons who were well cared for and very healthy, the other doc and the nurses stated that the no pet policy was 'old school' and unecessary. They recognized the important role pets played in emotional health and healing.

So my opinion is indoor domestic clean and healthy pets -yes, all other pets, especially those on farms and in barns (think mould -BAD) -no.
Nicole, mom to Evan (20); diagnosed SAA November 2007, hATG mid-November 2007, no response after 6 months, unrelated 9/10 BMT June 2008, no GVH, health completely restored thanks to our beloved donor Bryan from Tennessee.

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