There’s a story in Wired.com which reports on two cases of bubonic plague (both victims recovered) in the state of Oregon. The individuals apparently caught the disease via infected fleas from their dog, which shared their bed.
Hmm. We live in New York City, in a residential area of Manhattan where the rate of dog ownership is tremendously high, based on how many dogs you see outside being walked at any given time. An especially high proportion of these dogs are small ones — poodles, pugs, terriers and the like. How many do you think sleep on their owners’ beds?
I guess this must be why we are awakened every morning by the chilling sounds of a clanging bell, the rolling wheels of a cart, and the grim and repetitive command: “Bring out your dead!”
One commenter on the story in question offers this pithy response:
300 million people in the US.
50+ million dogs estimated to be living in the US.
0.28 people died from plague last year.
That’s just too frightening. I’m taking old Spot down to the SPCA to have him euthanized. I mean, it’s plague, guys. PLAGUE!
And that about sums it up.
Stories about getting lethal diseases from pets should merely be taken as salutary reminders to keep Rover clean and healthy. He’ll thank you for it, and so, just maybe, will your lymph nodes.