General information on Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis in cats may be acquired by eating infected birds, rodents or ingesting contaminated soil. Toxoplamosis is caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondi. There is some evidence that cats may also acquire the disease by eating uncooked or raw pork, beef, veal or mutton that contains toxoplasma organisms. Another source of infection may be the feces of infected cats. There is a danger of human infection, especially in pregnant women who do not have the protective antibodies necessary to be immune. Pregnant women must be cautious about coming in contact with fecal matter from cats.
Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis in cats is generally without symptoms. When the cat is symptomatic there may be a loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, swelling of the abdomen, cough, rapid breathing and lethargy.
Treatments for Toxoplasmosis
Antibiotics to treat Toxoplasmosis are available. To prevent the disease, keep your cat from hunting and roaming freely. When handling the litter box, wear protective gloves. Clean the litter box daily and disinfect the litter tray 2-3 times per week. Cook your cat's meat. After handling raw meat, wash your hands with soap and water and clean all kitchen surfaces that have come in contact with the raw meat.
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Toxoplasmosis - personal experiences
Toxoplasmosis experience by - Niko
Seattle, WA USA
My 16 year old cat experienced several episodes of feline vestibular syndrome/disease starting July 2011. The third one was very hard on her: she displayed nystagmus and ataxia for over 24 hours. During that time she was given xrays, an MRI, CSF and several blood tests. Although ultimately ruled as idiopathic, the neurologist thought my cat may have had a series of mini strokes due to clots too small to show up on the MRI. Two anomalies showed up in her tests, and that was mild hypertension and higher titers on inactive toxoplasmosis. It is possible the toxoplasmosis may have set up conditions for these clots to form, or caused these neurological problems on its own.
My cat was initially on on two courses of clindamycin for the toxoplasmosis, which was rechecked at the end of each course. She had at least 5 more episodes before the last one in October 2011. After 3 months had passed without incident, the vet prescribed daily medication which includes low doses of amlodipine for blood pressure and clindamycin to keep the toxoplasmosis in check. Although she is still wobbly and will probably never get better, it has now been almost a year since her last episode.
Symptoms of toxoplasmosis in cats (from http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/toxo.html): The most common symptoms of toxoplasmosis include fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Other symptoms may occur depending on whether the infection is acute or chronic, and where the parasite is found in the body. In the lungs, T. gondii infection can lead to pneumonia, which will cause respiratory distress of gradually increasing severity. Toxoplasmosis can also affect the eyes and central nervous system, producing inflammation of the retina or anterior ocular chamber, abnormal pupil size and responsiveness to light, blindness, incoordination, heightened sensitivity to touch, personality changes, circling, head pressing, twitching of the ears, difficulty in chewing and swallowing food, seizures, and loss of control over urination and defecation.
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