An Investigation of the Relationship of Wound Infection and Exposure to Household Pets: A Pilot Study

Statement of Problem In most industrialized countries, pets are becoming a big part in households engaging and sharing human lifestyles. In fact, it is estimated that 14%-62% of pet owners allow their dogs and cats on their beds. However, pets can also carry and transmit pathogens to people causing public health risks. Little is known about public knowledge and practices associated to pet related diseases, otherwise known as zoonotic diseases. The closeness of pet owners and their animals could pose a potential risk for transmission of at least 30 infectious agents. Zoonoses are diseases communicable from animals to humans. Sources of Data Data was collected from a convenience sample of prospective, new patients at a Wound Care Center in Southern California. A copy of the wound culture results was collected. Participants completed an Exposure to Pet Survey Questionnaire that included demographic data, type of pet in the household, frequency of time spent with the pet based on six items, and hand hygiene. Conclusions Reached The independent variable did not have significant correlation with the dependent variable (p=.137). A large-scale study is suggested to further investigate this hypothesis. However, hand washing showed a strong correlation with frequency of pet engagement (p=<.01), and suggests an inverse relationship with documented wound infection.