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Pregnancy and Farm animals (Open Farms)

(8 Posts)
Wills Mon 07-Apr-03 16:34:25


Over the weekend I visited a historical Farm with "real" animals. Everywhere I looked I could see signs warning pregnant women not to approach the animals. I've always been aware that sheep could carry a disease (can't remember its name) that harm my unborn but had simply thought I needed to be extra careful about washing my hands etc. I thought there was the same risk with cats litter. Also doesn't the disease affect my dd (3yrs) - is it extra harmful to my unborn? The Open farm near where we live has just re-opened and my dd absolutely adores going there so I'm loathe to curtail her visits if this is just someone being incredibly cautious.

SoupDragon Mon 07-Apr-03 16:37:42

I think it's only a problem if you handle the animals (stroking, feeding etc). Toxioplasmosis (or whatever, the cat thing! YKWIM!) is certainly one of the problems. There was a thread about someone's pet sheep and lamb in the last week or so which mentioned the other disease.

I think there are also E-coli (?) risks, hence the extra vigilant hand washing.

Katherine Mon 07-Apr-03 16:49:01

Hi Wills, Sounds a bit over the top to me. I mean as long as you wash your hands you should be fine - otherwise all farming families would grind to a halt after the first generation.

The cat litter thing is a bug called toxoplasmosis. It can harm an unborn baby but if you've been around cats before then you are probably immune anyway - oterhwise just avoid changing cat litter. I think the thing you mentioned about harming your DD is the bug in dog poo which can cause blindness but again just avoid dog poo (!) and wash hands a lot.

The thing about sheep is a virus which sheep can carry which can cause spontaneous mc but is only a problem if you are lambing which obviously you are not.

Sounds to me like they are just being over cautious at the farm. Go back and have lots of fun and don't worry.

Jaybee Mon 07-Apr-03 16:49:24

I understood it that there is something that can be passed from lambing ewes that can trigger miscarriage - to be honest I am not really sure how close you have to be or how it is caught. There was a storyline years ago on Emmerdale Farm (as it was then) with Kathy miscarrying during lambing season.
The other thing to be really really cautious is with washing hands (or antibacterial wipes) after touching anything - be especially careful with your dd who would not understand not to put her hands in or near her mouth. Dd picked up the cryptosperidium bug after going to a farm park several years ago, this resulted in severe diarrhoea and a visit from the environmental health!!

Wills Mon 07-Apr-03 18:35:16

Two lambs had been born the night before so possibly that's the reason. So how long does the lambing season last?

NQWWW Tue 08-Apr-03 14:01:59

I have heard the thing about lambing sheep too - I think you have to actually come into contact with the fluid in the sac, or the sheep's placenta. I went to a petting farm a cuople of months ago, and saw signs saying the risk was very small, but that pregnant women should avoid touching sheep or goats just in case.

Tigger2 Wed 09-Apr-03 15:06:09

Lambing usually finishes by 10th May at the latest. It is the cleansing of the ewe that carries the Enzootic abortion or Toxoplasmosis, but I don't think that they will have Enzootic Abortion as it goes through sheep like a whirlwind and none would have living lambs.

How pregnant are you?

susanmt Thu 10-Apr-03 01:27:37

I live in an area where sheep are the most common farm animal, and as it is very rural, most people have sheep (we don't). Thus, at our antenatal visits we are more warned about the sheep thing than pate and soft cheese.
It isn't very common to get it, but if you do, then it is very common to have a miscarriage. Our local small hospital has 200 births a year and reckons they see 2-4 women a year with m/c due to the sheep thing. Which puts it at somewhere between 0.01 and 0.02 percent. (one in a hundred to 2 in a hindred). This is pretty common in medical terms - far more common than being knocked down crossing the road. I realise we are in a rural, sheep based economy which makes it more common, but I would be careful to keep away from sheep until lambing is over.

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