Pet Owners Get Infections After Too-Close Contact
They were comforting the dying animals
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2012 4:48 PM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2012 7:00 PM CST
Be careful ... don't get too close, according to one study.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Pet owners should be careful of becoming too physically close with their furry friends: Three people contracted serious infections after cuddling and caring for their dying pets, a new study shows. One woman who ate honey from the dropper she used to feed her dog was hospitalized with a respiratory illness, as were two cat owners who kissed and snuggled with their dying kitties, reports MSNBC's Vitals blog.

“I suspect this happens more often than we know,” says the study's lead author. “It’ll put it on the radar so that doctors will ask about it.” The three incidents arose from contact with bacteria called Pasteurella multocida. It's found in the mouths of 80% of cats and about 60% of dogs and can be transmitted to humans through bites or scratches or affectionate interaction such as licking and kissing.