Fred Landeg, who is stepping down as the most senior government veterinary officer, says today in the Times that people need to be more aware that new and emerging diseases were just as likely to affect household pets as farm animals.
Dr Landeg, who is often on TV appearances explaining Asian flu, foot-and-mouth, and bluetongue outbreaks, said that pet dogs shouldn't be in the bedroom and that owners also should be vigilant about having pets in the kitchen.
I'm sorry, but was this man ever really a vet? Where does he expect us to keep our dogs - in a sterile room?
Besides the risk of unknown exotic diseases, Fred warns that dogs also carry common food poisoning bugs: campylobacter and salmonella.
The Times reveals that according to a survey of 260 households in a semi-rural town in the South Wirral, where most pets were Labradors or Jack Russells, almost 20 per cent of the animals slept in the bedroom and 14 per cent on a person’s bed.
In the Times Fred said: “When you look at new and emerging diseases many are zootic and passable from animals to man. We can think recently of Sars, which came from animals and another disease, the Hendra virus, from bats,” he said. “As a veterinary surgeon I would never advise people to keep dogs in their bedroom.”
Well what do you think of Fred's views folks? I'm booked to go on a load of BBC radio stations for their drivetime programmes to try to calm all this down a bit.
Will Fred's scaremongering stop you sharing your life with your dog?
I note he makes no mentions of the diseases the poor old dog can catch from us, or indeed all the many and varied diseases you can catch by sharing your bed with another human!
Do send me your anecdotes and tips for what to say so I can do my best this afternoon!
If you want to read the Times article in full click here.