Toxoplasmosis

This is a post for all my preggie fairy friends and followers who have kitties. *and its kitty Wednesday too :)*

A friend of mine read on a bag of cat litter that pregnant women should not clean litter trays as they can contract Toxoplasmosis.

I for one thought this was an old wives tale.

In fact it is true.

Now this is no reason for all preggie fairies to give up their kitties. In fact there are plenty myths surrounding kitties that just aren’t true. I was told that my cat would suck the breath out of my new baby so I should get rid of my cat.

Did it happen?

No siree.

I have two happy healthy kids one of which is following the crazy cat lady route.

I have even heard from a lady who contracted Toxoplasmosis, she had numerous miscarriages but in the end produced a second healthy child. This was about 25 years back and treatments and knowledge of the parasite has improved since.

So with that in mind we are on to Toxoplasmosis.

What is it?

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.[1] The parasite infects most genera of warm-blooded animals, including humans, but the primary host is the felid (cat) family. The parasite spreads by the ingestion of infected meat or the faeces of an infected cat, or by vertical transmission from mother to foetus. A 2001 study found that direct contact with pet cats is probably a less common route of transmission to human hosts than contamination of hands with cat faeces by touching the earth, and that “contact with infected raw meat is probably a more important cause of human infection in many countries”.[2]

Life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii - via Wikipedia

Life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii – via Wikipedia

Literally every site you visit states that there is a higher risk of contracting Toxoplasmosis through uncooked meat, so yes as I said before there is NO need to rush off and drop your kitty at a shelter!
Just educate yourself and be aware.

Prevention is better than cure for your and your kitties sakes.

Transmission may occur through:

Ingestion of raw or partly cooked meat, especially pork, lamb, or venison containing Toxoplasma cysts. Infection prevalence in countries where undercooked meat is traditionally eaten has been related to this transmission method. Tissue cysts may also be ingested during hand-to-mouth contact after handling undercooked meat, or from using knives, utensils, or cutting boards contaminated by raw meat.[21]

Ingestion of contaminated cat feces. This can occur through hand-to-mouth contact following gardening, cleaning a cat’s litter box, contact with children’s sandpits, or touching a leech. The cysts can survive in the environment for over a year.[22]

Cats excrete the pathogen in their feces for a number of weeks after contracting the disease, generally by eating an infected rodent. Even then, cat faeces are not generally contagious for the first day or two after excretion, after which the cyst ‘ripens’ and becomes potentially pathogenic.[23]

Ok, so how do you know if you or your cat has Toxoplasmosis?

All you have to do is take kitty into your vets for a simple blood test.
Also, if you have kitties it is best to tell your gynae so when you go in for your 18 week blood tests (he may even check on your first visit) he can check to see if it is in your blood stream.

Precautionary tips:

    Keep litter trays clean daily. (oocysts require longer than a single day to become infective)
    Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
    (Or get your husband to do it 😉 )
    Wear gloves when gardening and wash your hands after.
    Keep cats indoors.
    Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.
    Keep outdoor sandboxes covered
    Feed cats only canned or dried commercial food or well-cooked table food, not raw or undercooked meats. (Do check with your vet if you are changing kitties diet.)

To prevent contraction from meat,

    (a) make sure that surfaces used to chop meat are cleaned properly. Wash cutting boards, dishes, counters, utensils, and hands with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or unwashed fruits or vegetables.

    (b)Make sure that the meat you do eat is cooked thoroughly as this will kill the parasite.

    (c)Ensure that your meat is frozen properly if you are storing it.

    (d)Peel or wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.

Reference pages:

CDC – Toxoplasmosis

Wikipedia

Cat World

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About Di

Di believes that the most important and most fulfilling “job” she has is being a mom of two. She is an animal communicator. Her greatest passion is animals and their welfare. She enjoys writing about animals and topics to help others with their spiritual growth.

Posted on August 1, 2012, in Animal Welfare, Di's Articles, For Cat Lovers, Interesting Articles, Kids, Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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