This problem is not just caused by the litter box. Here’s how to avoid getting toxoplasmosis, which can affect both humans and cats.
Toxoplasmosis is certainly something you’ve heard of before if you own a cat. You may also be aware that due to the risk of developing toxoplasmosis, pregnant women should not clean their cats’ litter boxes. What exactly is it, and how worried should you be? Make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to avoid illness by reading more below.
A Parasitic Disease
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease. Although cats serve as the parasite’s primary host, this disease is one of the most common since it infects almost all warm-blooded creatures, including humans. The good news is that it rarely results in serious conditions in cats.
Only cats may transmit toxoplasma gondii to the environment through their waste, thus it can, for example, be found in dirt or your cat’s litter box. However, eating dirty food or coming in contact with raw meat might also expose them to the parasite that infects people.
How Does a Cat Get Infected?
The parasite Toxoplasma gondii can be acquired by a cat by contacting the faeces of another cat that has it or by killing and eating a wild animal (or eating raw meat) that has it.
The parasite multiplies in the cat’s intestines after being ingested until the immature eggs are discharged in the faeces. The eggs have a lifespan of over a year and can be shed for up to two weeks.
What Indices Exist?
Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats is typically accompanied by no indications of infection. Toxoplasmosis, a clinical condition caused by the parasite, can infrequently occur, but it is more common in kittens and cats with compromised immune systems, such as those with feline leukemia virus (FLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) (FeLV).
Toxoplasmosis symptoms include weariness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fever. Depending on the parasite’s location in the cat’s body, the intensity of the infection, and whether it is acute or chronic, additional symptoms could also manifest. For instance, if the parasite infection is in the lungs, a cat could suffer pneumonia.
In addition to affecting the eyes and central nervous system, the infection can also result in eye inflammation, blindness, abnormal light sensitivity, personality changes, head pressing, difficulty chewing and swallowing, lack of coordination, increased sensitivity to touch, seizures, ear twitching, loss of control over urination and defecation, and circling.
What Is the Treatment?
If your cat exhibits any disease signs, get your vet to examine it so they can identify the source of the issue. Your veterinarian may suggest a course of antibiotics and medications designed to stop the parasite from replicating if testing show that your cat has toxoplasmosis.
Should You Worry About Infection?
Your exposure, should your cat contract the disease, will be quite low because cats only expel the eggs for a brief time. Furthermore, it’s doubtful that handling an infected cat or getting bitten by or scratched by one can expose you to this parasite. In actuality, consuming unwashed produce and raw meat, consuming polluted water, and touching contaminated sandboxes and garden soil all increase the risk of humans contracting the parasite.
Toxoplasmosis is more prone to spread among those with compromised immune systems. If a pregnant woman contracts the condition, it could have an effect on the fetus. These factors necessitate that some individuals maintain a high standard of hygiene and excessive vigilance, going so far as to wear gloves, clean their cat’s litter box twice a day, and, of course, always wash their hands after using the restroom.
Preventing Exposure for You and Your Cat
Keep your cat inside at all times to prevent her from pursuing potentially infectious wild animals. To be sure your cat isn’t diseased, you can ask your veterinarian to perform the required tests.
Knowing what toxoplasmosis is can ultimately help you prevent infection and safeguard the health of your family and your cat by enabling you to take the necessary precautions. The best method to manage a parasite sickness in your pet is to be knowledgeable, practice good hygiene, and work with your veterinarian.