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Old 03-15-2005, 01:20 PM   #1
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Laney00 HB User
pregnancy and zookeeping

Hi there, I have a feeling this will be hard to find someone in same situation, however I will ask anyway...
My husband and I are going to try to get pregnant this summer sometime, but I am a seasonal zookeeper. You have all heard about how pregnant women aren't supposed to clean up a cats litterbox due to risk of toxoplasmosis or whatever it is, so what do you think of having to clean up animal exhibits? I suppose it could be just any cat exhibits would be dangerous, or are there other issues to worry about?
I will be asking my GP at my annual physical in April, but thought I would try to get some info ahead of time from anyone who, by chance, knows anyone who works in a zoo (or any hands on animal care) that has been pregnant.
B/C if this is a danger we will just have to wait until the end of the season to start trying, which I don't want to do, but will if I have to.
Thanks to anyone who knows anything, but again, I don't expect many to relate since this is such a specific question, and we zookeepers are few and far between!
Laney

 
Old 03-15-2005, 05:22 PM   #2
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lilalegna HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

hi, i am a veterinary technician, and also ttc. just as long as i have good hygene and wash hands, wear gloves when cleaning the animal feces (as far as toxoplasmosis goes) i really have no worries about contracting it. i would still talk to your docor, you are exposed to many more animals other than just cats and dogs like i am, you should also it may help to talk with someone who works at a lab (possibly in your zoo) that would know if there are any zoonotic diseases that you should be concerned with. or even as far as just the physical labor part of your job, a docor would be able to tell you how much you are able to do. but ive rambled enough. have a wonderful evening and goodluck with finding those answers!

 
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:14 AM   #3
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sammieP HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

Hi, im a veterinary nurse and also ttc, like lilalegna says it is best to have good hygene, wash your hands after doing or touching anything, wear gloves if you can and if you are working around the birds i would probrably advise you wear a face mask.

Speak to the zoo's lab technician for further advise, do you have anything in your contract of employment that states what you should do when pregnant, if so maybe you could start to carry these out now.

Your doctor should know what you can and cant do and which parts of you you should be extra careful with.

Good luck and sprinklings of baby dust to you

 
Old 03-16-2005, 10:56 AM   #4
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skl_1979 HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

Laney,
I work on a horse farm year round and my biggest worry was drugs with our horses. I'm kind of surprised SammieP and Lila didn't say something but it depends on what they do in the office. There are drugs that we use everyday in the feeding that is harmless until it comes to a baby (foals included) and we have to be careful with what is left in the feed tubs from one horse to the next. We have breeding age mares (females) that are on a drug called Regumate that pregnant women or woman who could get pregnant should not handle without gloves (strait progestrogen). Other than that I would be worried about being accidently injured. 1200 lbs of PO'ed horse is not fun in a 12 X12 stall or loose in a field. For instance: last year we had a subdivision move in behind our farm. A couple of the boys thought it would be fun to light fireworks in the field between the barn and their homes. We have Saddlebreds and they tend to be a little more "high-strung" than say a quarterhorse. Two of the three horses turned out in the field have to be tranquilized over 4th of July so they won't hurt themselves in their stalls. Picture 3 horses running full out into the barn like their tails were on fire. They went right through the wood fence and in through the "human" barn door. I had to sedate the horses (kill the neighborhood boys) and call the vet to stitch the horses back together. At the time I had no idea I was pregnant and should not have been taking x-rays of one of the horses. In my mind the horses were more important to me and I didn't even consider that what I was doing in a routine job could have hurt the baby. I was lucky because we took all of the precautions like you should. Just something to consider. Also think about the type of day you would have. Are you lifting heavy objects? Walking all day without sitting down? Ask other people who were pregnant and worked physically demanding jobs.
Good luck,
-S

 
Old 03-16-2005, 12:26 PM   #5
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sammieP HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

I dont deal with anything in the office i mainly deal with injecting animals on a daily basis and the general patient after care of an injured or sick small animal, you really just have to be that extra carefull and understand which drug could be harmfull and which isnt, i can name quite a few but there would be no point as you may use different drugs to us - no doubt as my patients are very small!

You may have a compendium to hand as to the drugs you use there, if so take a look through and read the precautions (in our compendium there are certain pictures in the margin of the book to bring your attention to using whilst pregnant) but as you know we just need to be that extra careful, the one big thing you should not get involved with is helping with is aborting sheep, due to toxoplasmosis but seeing as your animals are larger and more exotic to the ones i deal with i would check with the veterinary surgeon who deals with your zoo animals - he or she will know and be able to guide you appropriately

P.S Like skl1979 said with ref to x-rays that is one area of work you should try and get someone else to cover if you can, we however cant all the time but i do ensure that i am way past the 2meter safety zone and people are aware that we are ttc and so they do tend to try and help out wherever possible!

Last edited by sammieP; 03-16-2005 at 12:30 PM.

 
Old 03-16-2005, 12:50 PM   #6
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bronicagirl HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

I know of someone who wore gloves while mixing regumate in her mares feed, but it still managed to stop her cycles.
some good advise from the ladies, goodluck
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Old 03-16-2005, 04:33 PM   #7
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lilalegna HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

it did slip my mind about the drug aspect of my job. i just avoid touching the drugs that would cause harm. as for radiology, the vet i work for asked me straight up if there was any chance at all, when i started working, that i could be pregnant, and since i wasnt using birth control he wouldnt let me take radiographs.
but reading the drug inserts, like sammie said, and asking the veterinarian and your own doc what is harmful or not is also very wise.

 
Old 03-17-2005, 01:19 PM   #8
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sammieP HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

I hope you manage to get all the info you need, im sure they will all be happy to advise you

 
Old 03-18-2005, 12:07 PM   #9
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Laney00 HB User
Re: pregnancy and zookeeping

Thanks everyone for your replies.....I will take your advice into consideration, fortunatly I work in a small zoo, and we don't medicate the animals very often and my co-workers can do that when we do. Also, we do not do x-rays either, so thats good.
Thank you everyone!

 
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