Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Pets—pleasures and problems

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 24 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1254

Are pets good for us?

Pets are a mixed blessing. They give us companionship and comfort, but
they also give us allergies, parasites, and viruses. These diseases may be
minor, or they may be life-threatening. For example, pet allergy can make us
cough and sneeze, but pet viruses can cause cancer. The connection between
cats and Hodgkin's disease has been observed by many doctors. I
have seen this connection several times in my practice. I love animals and
understand their appeal, but I am concerned about the health risks of indoor

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 March 2008
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA