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Toxoplasmosis in cats2014/05/10

toxoplasmosis in cats 

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). They can lay eggs (oocysts).

Contact with oocyst-contaminated dirt (soil, or cat litter) is one way that people are exposed to Toxoplasma gondii. In reality, most transmission to humans is probably due to eating undercooked infected meat, or by eating unwashed fruits and vegetables.


What’s the risk with pregnancy?

The main public health worry is that Toxoplasma gondii can be transmitted directly from pregnant woman to unborn child when the mother becomes infected during pregnancy. Infected infants could develop signs of infection later in life, including even loss of vision or hearing, for example.

Immunodeficient people are also at greater risk of disease if infected. In the past, immunodeficient people and pregnant women were advised to avoid cats. However, note in America the Centers for Disease Control now advises that this is not necessary.

How can I test my cat for toxoplasmosis?

Determining the IgM levels helps in diagnosis of active toxoplasmosis, as these antibodies increase in number within one week of infection and may remain elevated for three months.

The IgG antibodies increase within two to four weeks after infection and may remain elevated for a whole year to follow.

The PCR (similar to DNA) test is available to look for the actual parasite Toxoplasma gondii in samples- blood or faeces.

Often vets use one or a combination of these tests to get an accurate diagnosis.


How to be very careful about toxoplasmosis in cats and in people?

Have cats tested by the veterinarian for the parasite.

Do not feed your cat raw meat or eat undercooked meat yourself.

 Wash vegetables well.

Use rubber gloves when cleaning the litter tray.

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you cannot have a cat, it just means you need to be more careful about not handling cat faeces.