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Moving Into A Small Apartment: Does Your Pet Feel Welcome? Part 4

As a pet owner living in an apartment community, it is your responsibility to keep your dog healthy and safe from worms and parasites, and your duties will go beyond booster shots and checkups. You will not only have to consider your pet’s health from your own viewpoint, but from the viewpoint of your neighbors in the complex.

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Any animal can become temporarily ill. In the close situation of an apartment complex, your dog’s affliction can readily spread to other pets in the area. Thus you must not only be concerned with curing your animal’s infection, but also with preventing an epidemic among the canine tenants.

The reverse is also true: Where the health or behavior of one animal can affect so many other pets, the way your neighbors treat their pets is very much your business.

Nor is the danger to be regarded as a problem of the animal population exclusively. Most canine infections do not afflict humans, but there are the few exceptions. Rabies, of course, is an obvious example, but it is not the only one.

Two other exceptions that are worthy of notice are the hookworm and roundworm. The hookworm larvae survive just long enough to produce “creeping eruption” with its torturous itching. Roundworms, on the other hand, can survive in humans. The larvae travel by way of the circulatory system, finding their way even into the spinal cord and brain of the human host.

Roundworms is a serious affliction, and a prominent reason why every apartment dweller must take an interest in the way other tenants care for their pets. Fortunately, most pet owners want to keep their pets healthy. If they are neglectful, chances are the neglect comes out of lack of experience in caring for animals, and a friendly word of advice will be effective enough.

There are, naturally, exceptions. However, as the problems of proximity increases in an area, regulations to control these problems emerge, and you may find there are legal procedures to prevent a responsible pet owner from endangering other members of the apartment community.

As less land is available for home building, more “upright” cities will appear. Families increasingly will leave the single-family residence for high-density living arrangements. Hopefully, someday sanitary practice will eliminate contagion among our pets, and inoculation of all pets will be as routine as vaccination of children. Until then, every family that gives up the privacy of a house should be fully aware of what the move involves.