Toksoplazms are microscopic parasites common throughout the world. A quarter of the meat sold in stores contains toxoplasm. The third part of humanity is carriers, more than half of mammals are infected with toxoplasmosis. Treatment of toxoplasmosis in cats is an obligatory measure to prevent the spread of the disease, since cats are the only animals in the body of which sexual reproduction of toxoplasm is possible.
Life cycle and pathways of infection
Many people, having learned that cats are carriers of toxoplasmosis, completely refuse to communicate with these beautiful animals. Illiterate doctors pour oil on the fire, misinforming patients. Of course, if there is a suspicion, it is necessary to pass an analysis for toxoplasmosis in cats, but do not panic. Rumors about the danger of infection and negative consequences are somewhat exaggerated. Yes, people get infected with toxoplasma from cats, but not in all cases.
So, toxoplasmosis in domestic cats – a common disease. A cat can swallow a parasite by eating a sick mouse, sniffing the vagabond’s feces, licking a soiled paw in the ground. Toksoplazms literally everywhere – in soil, in water, on vegetables and in meat, in children’s sandboxes and on the soles of shoes.
Once in the body of a cat, parasites are introduced into tissue cells and divided into two groups. One group actively multiplies in the small intestine: cysts are formed, which are excreted with feces. Since the signs of toxoplasmosis in cats are not always noticeable, the unsuspecting owner can become infected by cleaning the tray. But only in the event that feces have lain in the tray for more than a day, since the cysts must ripen. This process – the isolation of cysts – lasts about three weeks from the time of infection, after which the feces of cats cease to be the source of infection. The second group of toxoplasm is introduced into the tissue cells and spreads throughout the body, destroying the cells, which leads to various violations in the work of internal organs.
Before toxoplasmosis occurs in cats during the first infection in life, several weeks pass, during which feces of the pet already contain cysts. Normally, toxoplasmosis causes only temporary deterioration of the condition – mild rhinitis, minor tear marks from the eyes, a single diarrhea or vomiting. Usually symptoms of toxoplasmosis in cats are taken for poisoning or colds. After two or three days, signs of malaise disappear – the disease goes into a latent, and then a chronic form. Immunity of a healthy cat does not allow toxoplasm to actively multiply, locking them in cages – the cat ceases to be contagious and does not react to the presence of parasites in the body for a lifetime without re-infection.
If the pet’s immunity is reduced, the disease proceeds in acute / subacute form. Carrier animals with a chronic form of toxoplasmosis can also get sick as a result of immune stress. Since toxoplasmosis is transmitted from cats to humans during the acute / subacute course of the disease, care must be taken when communicating with a recovering pet.
How to determine toxoplasmosis in a cat? Unfortunately, it is symptomatically impossible, the signs of the disease are nonspecific and similar to the symptoms of many diseases:
- coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes;
- shortness of breath, weakness, apathy;
- trembling of muscles, convulsions;
- refusal of food or poor appetite, there may be abnormalities in the work of the digestive tract (constipation, diarrhea, vomiting).
How to check the cat for toxoplasmosis, the veterinarian will tell. There are several effective methods, but not all of them are available in regular clinics. For example, setting a bioassay on laboratory mice is an excellent, but not universally available, option. Serological analysis for toxoplasmosis in cats is an effective method of detecting parasites, however veterinarians prefer cytological studies and PCR (polymer chain reaction). A negative result does not guarantee, so it is desirable to repeat the analysis using a different method.
As to detect toxoplasmosis in a cat, examining feces for the presence of cysts, it is possible only for two to three weeks from the onset of the disease, this method is not considered effective. Usually, at the time of the onset of symptoms of the disease, cysts stop excreting with faeces, so in 90% of cases, such analysis is a waste of time.
Even timely treatment of toxoplasmosis in cats does not give 100% results. Typically, therapy is aimed at eliminating symptoms and translating the disease from acute to chronic. A cat diagnosed with toxoplasmosis should be inspected every year to ensure that a sufficient number of antibodies in the blood are preserved.
Since the treatment of toxoplasmosis in cats is very long (from several weeks to one year of therapy), it is advisable to contact an experienced veterinarian, and not just visit the clinic “near the house.” During the treatment it is necessary to monitor the condition of the cat, conducting additional tests. The prognosis is favorable for healthy adult animals and unfavorable for pets, whose health is undermined by chronic ailments.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccination against this disease. Prophylaxis of toxoplasmosis in cats is as follows:
- the tray must be cleaned daily, treated 10% with ammonia solution once a week;
- raw meat from the diet should be excluded;
- on the collar it is necessary to attach a bell so that the cat can not catch rodents and birds;
- the stronger the immunity, the less likely that the cat will become ill with toxoplasmosis. It is important to create comfortable conditions for the life of the darlings, maintain cleanliness indoors, qualitatively feed the cat, visit the vet once a year for preventive examination.
Since toxoplasmosis is manifested in cats only in the case of an insufficient immune response, theoretically any pitoma can be contagious. It is important to observe hygiene measures when dealing with a cat, wash hands and face after close contact, clean the tray in rubber gloves.
Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy
Symptoms of toxoplasmosis in cats may be completely absent, but at the same time a cat can be a source of infection. For a healthy adult, toxoplasma does not pose a particular danger – once ingested, they are trapped inside the cells. But for the embryo toxoplasma deadly – penetrating through the placenta, parasites are introduced into the embryo: possible congenital pathologies, frozen pregnancy or miscarriage.
Since it is not possible to check the cat for toxoplasmosis in every clinic, doctors recommend that pregnant women limit contact with the pet or generally get rid of the cat. However, this only makes sense if the woman has never had a toxoplasmosis before, which is easy to find out by performing a series of tests. If the result of the tests confirms that there are toxoplasm in the body of the woman in the encapsulated (sleeping) state, the baby’s health can not be feared: immunity will not allow toxoplasm to penetrate the placenta, even if the symptoms of toxoplasmosis in the cat are obvious, and cysts are contained in the feces of the pitoma.
In case the woman has never been infected with toxoplasmosis, it is necessary not only to limit contact with the cat, but also to take special care when cutting meat, wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly, and wear gloves while working in the garden.