Table 5

Demographics, animal husbandry, attachment and practices of exotic companion mammal and reptile-owning households (Ontario, Canada)
Variable Exotic Companion Mammal1 (N=29) Reptile (N=22)
NR N (%) NR N (%)
Household Demographics
Child under 16 yrs living in household 29 19 (65.5) 22 10 (45.5)
Child under 5 yrs living in household 29 3 (10.3) 22 2 (9.1)
Adult ≥ 65 yrs living in household 29 2 (6.9) 22 0
Individual living in household ever diagnosed 23 8 (34.8) 19 9 (47.4)
with an immunocompromising condition
Individual < 5 yrs, ≥ 65 yrs, or ever diagnosed 26 12 (46.2) 20 11 (55.0)
with an immunocompromising condition
Previous receipt of pet-associated zoonotic 27 11 (40.7) 17 7 (41.2)
disease education2
Animal Husbandry, Attachment and Practices
 Cage cleaned 29 21
 Daily 2 (6.9) 1 (4.8)
 Every several days 6 (20.7) 3 (14.3)
 Weekly 18 (62.1) 6 (28.6)
 Every 2 weeks 3 (10.3) 5 (23.8)
 Greater than every 2 weeks 0 6 (28.6)
Animals allowed to roam through house NA NA 22 2 (9.1)
Animals allowed to roam in kitchen NA NA 22 2 (9.1)
Animals/cages washed in kitchen sink NA NA 22 3 (13.6)
Animals/cages washed in bathtub or bathroom NA NA 18 5 (27.8)
sink
Household’s emotional attachment to pet 29 21
 Very attached 16 (55.2) 3 (14.3)
 Somewhat attached 11 (37.9) 11 (52.4)
 Not very attached 2 (6.9) 4 (19.1)
 Not at all attached 0 3 (14.3)
Questions answered by households with one or more children under 16 yrs
Any children ever clean the animal’s cage 19 12 (63.2) 10 4 (40.0)
 Wear gloves when cleaning 12 1 (8.3) 3 0
 Wash hands after cleaning 12 11 (91.7) 4 3 (75.0)
Animals roam in children’s room NA NA 8 0
Children touch the pet 19 19 (100) 9 7 (77.8)
 Children wash hands after touching 19 7
   Always 8 (42.1) 4 (57.1)
   Usually 8 (42.1) 0
   Sometimes 3 (15.8) 2 (28.6)
   Never 0 1 (14.3)
Children’s emotional attachment to the pet 18 10
 Very attached 11 (61.1) 1 (10.0)
 Somewhat attached 6 (33.3) 5 (50.0)
 Not very attached 1 (5.6) 3 (30.0)
 Not at all attached 0 1 (10.0)

1Exotic companion mammals included rabbits, hedgehogs, and rodents (such as gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, mice, and rats).

2Respondent recalled having ever received information from any source about diseases that they can get from pets or precautions to take with pets to reduce the risk of disease.

NR: Number responding to question. Blank and “don’t know” responses were excluded.

NA: Not asked.

Stull et al.

Stull et al. BMC Public Health 2013 13:520   doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-520

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