Experts warn of diseases through pets

December 21, 2013 - 6:07:49 am
DOHA: As domesticating animals has become a hobby in households, experts have warned of its dangers to pet owners.

While people obtain happiness and solace by taking care of pets, they can pass on diseases in the absence of good hygiene and veterinary care.

Dr Ahmad Younis, a veterinarian, said there are diseases that can be transmitted to human beings from animals such as dogs, cats and monkeys. 

Certain types of worms, viruses, protozoa, bacteria and skin parasites can be transferred to humans when pet owners don’t take good care of the animals living with them in their homes.

“Also we are affecting behaviours of these animals when we keep them at home. 

“They become depressed and sometimes die because the natural environment of these animals is not the home and they have to move freely,” Dr Younis told the Arabic daily Al Watan.

Dr Batool Khalifa, a psychologist at Qatar University, said some people have animals as pets as a hobby but in some cases these animals help then fill the void in their lives such as those without children.

There are also people with high economic status who go over the top raising these animals for entertainment and sometimes for luxury, she said, adding there are people, who use gold chains, rings and expensive jewellery on their pets.

“This goes out of tradition and this is because many people like to imitate what they see in Western films, how rich families live,” she explained.

Taking care of animals at home has advantages. One of these, she said, is children learn how to be kind to animals and treat them well.

Hamad Al Marri, a Qatari, said people who do not know how to take care of animals must not have them as pets because animals need special care.

“Sometimes cats and dogs are needed to guard our homes. And  dogs play an important role in our traditions such as the saluki competitions,” he said. 

They create problems, though, like noises at night which disturb neighbours, he added.

“It depends on the economic situation of the family because to keep animals at home, you have to spend money. I have many friends who are raising animals at home because they feel they can provide them with their basic requirements,” said Abdul Nasser, a citizen. “But now people dress up their pets, use expensive gold chains. This is unnecessary luxury,” he said.

“People used to raise animals for hunting and to guard their homes, but now times have changed. Raising animals has become not just a hobby but a business; people make good money by selling them and participating in contests and festivals,” said Ahmed Abounain, another citizen. 

The Peninsula
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