What is the Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. It is one of the most common parasitic diseases and is known to affect nearly all warm-blooded animals and humans, but cats aren’t the only animals who can transmit it, they’re just the only species to shed the infectious stage in their feces. Humans can contract toxoplasmosis from the infected, undercooked meat of other animals, too. Cats most often become carriers of toxoplasmosis by killing and eating wild animals who have been infected.
What are the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis in cats?
Clinical signs of toxoplasmosis are nonspecific; most cats infected with T. gondii will not show any symptoms. The disease is more likely to occur in cats with suppressed immune systems, including young kittens and cats with feline leukemia virus (FELV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).The most common signs of toxoplasmosis include fever, loss of appetite, weight loss and lethargy. In the lungs, T. gondii infection can lead to pneumonia, which causing breathing difficulties. Toxoplasmosis can also affect the eyes and central nervous system, abnormal pupil size, blindness, incoordination, heightened sensitivity to touch, personality changes, circling, head pressing, and difficulty in chewing and swallowing food, tremor and seizures. Less common signs of illness reported include: lymph node enlargement; vomiting and muscle pain.
Is there a diagnostic test for Toxoplasmosis in cats?
Fecal examination (e.g. flotation) may occasionally identify oocysts in the feces of recently infected cats but this finding has limited clinical significance. Serological tests are the most reliable tests for making a definitive diagnosis by measuring the levels of toxoplasma antigens in the body. Serological tests will also help in determining the levels of antibodies IgM and IgG. Antibodies are proteins that are normally present in the body or produced in response to an antigen (in this case toxoplasma).
Is there any treatment for Toxoplasmosis?
Treatment must be started as soon as possible after diagnosis and continued for several days after signs have disappeared. In case of severe disease, your cat may need to be hospitalized for emergency treatment. Fluids are given intravenously in cats with poor hydration. Clindamycin is the treatment of choice for dogs and cats, but in difficult cases, certain other drugs will be use.
How to prevent from getting infected with Toxoplasmosis?
Pet cats should be fed only dry, canned, or cooked food. Pregnant women should avoid contact with cat litter, soil and raw meat, as this parasite has been known to cause severe complications during pregnancy. The cat litter box should be emptied daily, the longer the infected feces remains in the litter box, the more likely the possibility that the eggs of the parasite will become viable and infectious. Gloves should be worn while gardening. Vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating, because they may have been contaminated with cat feces.