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Good news for pets in nursing homes

Pets have long been known to provide their owners with emotional and physical health benefits. Pets are especially therapeutic for seniors living in nursing homes, where loneliness and depression are common. Pets can also help lower your blood pressure, increase exercise habits and reduce social withdrawal.

As you probably know, MRSA in dogs and cats can be a home risk factor for people with Staph and MRSA infections. But a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control shows that pets in nursing homes kept under good hygiene standards pose no increased risk of MRSA to their owners (Am J Infect Control. 2012; 40(2):128-133).

This is good news if you live in a nursing home. While individual situations may vary, the study shows that you can enjoy the health benefits of having a pet without increasing your risk of infection.

As for all pet owners, you should carefully consider if a pet is right for you if you live in a nursing home. Be sure to check if your nursing home allows companion animals and what their pet care standards and hygiene policies are. Also be aware that pets require an investment in time, energy and money to feed and properly care for. While dogs are often very affectionate, they require more care, mobility and training than cats and birds. And if you do choose to have a pet, make sure you have a contingency plan if you should become unable to care for your pet in the future.

To your best health,
Michelle


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