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Toxoplasmosis in Cats

Treatment

 

In case of severe disease, your cat may need to be hospitalized for emergency treatment. Fluids are given intravenously in cats with poor hydration. Antibiotics are given to control the infection and prevent further progression of the disease into the system.

 

In cats with severe disease, proper nutrition and hydration is important for keeping the animal's health stable and for preventing a fatal outcome. However, in patients needing treatment because of severe symptoms, the overall prognosis is often very poor. Similarly, in kittens and immune-compromised patients, the prognosis is not favorable despite therapy.

 

Some antibiotics given to treat toxoplasmosis may cause side-effects, like vomiting, lack of appetite, and diarrhea. If you see any such untoward symptoms, consult your veterinarian for appropriate changes in therapy, since these side-effects can quickly become life threatening. Regular monitoring of the treatment response is required in patients under therapy. Your veterinarian will evaluate the treatment response by observing for improvements in symptoms like fever, lack of appetite, and eye problems.

 

Prevention

 

While cats are the best known transmitters for the T. gondii parasite, it is important to remember that the parasite is more frequently acquired through handling raw meat and eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. The best protection against this parasite, for you and your cat, is through prevention and hygiene. Do not feed raw meat to your cat, and if you must allow your cat to go outdoors, be aware that your cat can easily acquire the parasite from other cats, from digging in dirt that is infected with the parasite, and from eating the meat of animals that are infected.

 

Other protective measures include covering outdoor sandboxes when not in use to prevent cats from using them as litter boxes, wearing gloves while gardening, washing hands after playing outside (particularly with children), wearing disposable gloves while changing the litter box (and possibly a face mask as well, if pregnant or immune compromised), and keeping the litter box clean on a daily basis. 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. If at all possible, pregnant women should avoid cleaning litter boxes, as this parasite has been known to cause severe complications during pregnancy. If it is unavoidable, make sure that all precautions are taken to avoid contact through the respiratory tract (face mask, disposable gloves).

 

It is possible to have your cat tested for this parasite, but the irony is that cats that test positive are less likely to be a threat of infectious transmission than cats that test negative, since cats that test positive are only testing positive for the antibodies to the parasite, meaning that they have already been previously infected and are now nearly immune to the infection; therefore, posing a much lower risk of being infectious. In fact, cats that have been infected with the T. gondii are generally immune to repeat infections for up to six years.

 

Conversely, if your cat tests negative for T. gondii antibodies, you will need to be that much more preventative in your approach to protecting your cat from infection, since they have no immunity to protect them from infection.

 

 

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