Why is this important to know? It's important because these people, YOPIES, are at an increased risk of accidentally getting a disease from an animal, even pets like a dog or cat, livestock, and wildlife. It's an acronym to help us remember who's most susceptible.
YOPIES stands for:
Younger than 6
Older than 60
Exposed to animals that do not see a veterinarian
You can definitely live a happy and healthy life with a pet, or live near wildlife, even if you're one of the YOPIES. We call it "3UP" as an easy way to remember how to be safe. That is: Vet Up, Pick Up, and Wash Up.
If you live with pets, there are two things you can do now.
First, talk to your veterinarian about how to help keep your pets free from those diseases that can accidentally be spread to other family members and others who may encounter your pets. Also, discuss your pet's lifestyle (e.g. indoors, outdoors, exposure to other animals, etc.). This will give them clues about how to give you the best possible advice.
Second, talk to your doctor about the kinds of pets you have living with you, your lifestyle with your pet (e.g. do they sleep in your bedroom, do you allow your pet outside, and if so, where, etc.), how you spend time outdoors, any upcoming travel to other parts of the country where you live and outside your country, any exposure to farm animals, and what you eat (e.g. raw food diet, where you get your food, how you prepare your food, etc.).
Other questions you may have include:
What kind of diseases can you get from a dog, a cat, other pets, livestock, or wildlife?
How can I tell if my pet has a disease that can be spread to me and other people or pets?
Do I need to get rid of my pet?
Do I need to make my loved one get rid of their pet?
We'll be posting more information to help answer these questions and more. Stay tuned!