Toxoplasmosis in cats; symptoms and treatment

Toxoplasmosis in cats; symptoms and treatment

9 January, 2020

Toxoplasmosis is a disease that cats can get from contact with the eggs of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. This parasite’s main host is cats, transmitting it among them and to humans and other pets.

Toxoplasmosis in cats is known primarily because of the risk it poses to pregnant women. Although this disease is not present in all cats, nor is it so easily transmitted if proper hygiene guidelines are followed.

Do you know exactly how cats get feline toxoplasmosis? Find out how it is transmitted and how it manifests in the animal, as well as the best treatment to get rid of the parasite.

What is Feline Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that needs to live inside another animal in order to complete its life cycle.

Although the parasite can infect other animals and people, the most important part of the cycle must occur inside cats, in whose cells it finds the perfect environment to reproduce and release the eggs back into the external environment, completing the life cycle.

This is not a serious disease in the cat, but it can present a series of annoying symptoms. Above all, it must be prevented from spreading to other animals and humans, cutting the cycle with the right treatment.

How do cats get toxoplasmosis?

Cats can get the parasite through different routes:

  • Meat from other animals contaminated with toxoplasmosis.
  • Contact with faeces from other cats that have the disease.
  • Through the placenta, passing the parasite from mother to child during pregnancy.

The parasite enters the body of the healthy animal and begins to invade the intestine cells to form oocysts. These oocysts mature, until they hatch into eggs and become part of the cat’s faeces, and then they emerge to find a new host for them to parasitize.

How is toxoplasmosis spread from cats to humans?

Toxoplasmosis in humans has no dangerous health symptoms. Humans are not the main host of this parasite, and sooner or later the body eliminates them completely if it becomes infected.

The danger lies in pregnant women who can catch it, as it can affect the development of the foetus or cause some kind of complication in the pregnancy.

For a pregnant woman to catch these eggs, her cat must first have the parasite inside it, something that is not common in house cats today. If your cat has toxoplasmosis, you can catch it by handling the animal’s faeces with your hands, and then touching your mouth without washing your hands and ingesting the eggs.

As a prevention, it would suffice to ensure that pregnant women do not change the cat litter, or to use disposable gloves every time they do so, changing the litter box frequently and maintaining a correct hygiene in the home.

Toxoplasmosis symptoms in cats

Detecting toxoplasmosis in cats is not easy, as the symptoms are very mild and go unnoticed. Episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea may occur, more often in small cats.

During the release of the eggs, cell necrosis occurs in the animal’s intestine, along with several characteristic symptoms: cough, dyspnoea, lameness, muscle pain, fever, jaundice, and some types of infection.

Treating toxoplasmosis in cats

A cat affected by the symptoms of toxoplasmosis requires treatment to improve its health. To do this it is necessary to first go to the vet, making a correct diagnosis before applying clindamycin.

Toxoplasmosis treatment lasts 30 days, until the disease is reversed, and the animal’s condition improves.

Once the parasite is gone, and as a prevention for toxoplasmosis, at Sepicat we recommend you keep your pet on a good diet and clean the areas the animal goes, avoiding this way the contagion of cats, humans and other animals.

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