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Do Your Research Before Buying Spring Pets

As marshmallow chicks and bunnies make their way onto store shelves, make sure those are the only animals you purchase with little thought this spring.

Each year, at the conclusion of the Easter holiday many young chickens and rabbits are turned into local shelters because their holiday appeal has faded. Mainly because new owners did not do their research before purchasing.

As with other family pets, research needs to be completed before deciding to take in a new one. Families must assess and decide if they have the dedication and resources to care for a new pet in the years to come.

Another concern with adopting chickens and rabbits is their ability to carry various diseases which can cause illness for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), many people do not realize the potential danger baby chicks and ducklings can pose to small children. Young, healthy-appearing birds often carry harmful bacteria called Salmonella, and each spring children become infected with Salmonella after receiving a baby chick or duckling for Easter.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Before making any animal impulse buys this spring season make sure to consider the risks and responsibility with owning a pet. For more information contact your local veterinarian or find a WVMA member veterinarian at www.wvma.org.

The mission of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association is to advocate and promote veterinary medicine, while enriching animal and human health. Founded in 1915, it has more than 2,300 members

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