Toxoplasmosis in cats and cats is a very dangerous disease both for the animal itself and for those around it and other pets and even humans. Today we will tell you how toxoplasmosis manifests itself in cats, that is, how its symptoms look, as well as how to treat this disease.
Is the disease transmitted from cat to person? How can a cat get toxoplasmosis?Toxoplasmosis, as you know, refers to zooanthroponosis, that is, a person can get sick with this disease in contact with an infected cat. Many types of animals get sick, but cats are dangerous. They are the "primary" links in the infection chain. Intermediate can be approximately three hundred species of mammals, 60 species of birds and, of course, humans. Unfortunately, every second inhabitant of the planet is infected with toxoplasmosis, but does not suspect this. Do not panic, worry and, especially, refuse cats.
What causes toxoplasmosis?
The culprits are the smallest parasites, the simplest. And the "name" of the pathogen Toxoplasma gondii (Toxoplasma gandhi). They can increase their number in 2 ways: sexual and asexual. The first occurs exclusively in the body (more precisely, in the intestines) of the feline family. Asexual reproduction - in the body of other susceptible animals, parasites penetrate into the cells. Therefore, seals become infected when they eat a sick animal.
Cats secrete a parasite into the environment with feces. Toxoplasma is able to "exist" in the environment and pose a danger to animals and humans for almost a year and a half!
Parasite development cycle
Beloved pet can become infected very easily. If a cat walks outside, then there it can catch and eat an infected mouse, sniff the feces of a sick animal or lick them. Home is also not safe. You can bring a parasite on your shoes, which then licks, sniffs your cat. However, the more common cause of the disease lies in poor heat treatment of meat. Transmission from person to person is excluded unless the fetus is infected from the mother.
In this way, toxoplasma enters the body of the primary host.
Now the toxoplasma begins to multiply. At first, protozoa increase in number in the small intestine. Somewhere else 3 weeks after infection, the cat secretes parasite cysts with feces. But they need another day to "ripen". If you throw away fresh feces, observing safety measures, then the chance of infection is minimal. After 3-4 weeks, toxoplasma begins to multiply in the cat's body, invading the cells, which, of course, leads to disruption of the organs.
Other animals become infected when mature toxoplasma cysts are swallowed or inhaled. That's why it is very important to clean the feces of your cat with gloves, preferably even in a gauze bandage, immediately, without waiting for the tray to be completely cleaned. Be sure to ensure that the child on the street does not drag sand or something else into his mouth. Still, stray cats spoil everywhere, so there are millions of mature cysts on the street.
When cysts enter the body of the secondary host (humans, birds, mammals), protozoa that “penetrate” the cells “exit” it.
In detail about the disease, see the video:
Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
How is toxoplasmosis in cats and cats? Is it possible to identify it with the naked eye or without the help of a specialist can not do? Is it realistic to make a diagnosis on your own at home. First, we will deal with the symptoms of toxoplasmosis in cats. If the cat became infected for the first time, then the first three weeks cysts are released from his body into the environment, which can cause disease in other animals. As soon as the parasite has ceased to multiply in the small intestine, it penetrates into the cells of the cat. If the animal is healthy (that is, there are no other parasitic or even infectious diseases), then strong immunity will not allow protozoa to multiply further. Therefore, there will be no particular symptoms.
If the state of the immune system does not allow the cat to successfully deactivate the activity of the parasite, then toxoplasmosis can occur in an acute form. According to the symptoms, the manifestations of the disease are similar to the usual form of the disease, only they are expressed more significantly. Damage to the nervous system leads to convulsions, twitching, in rare cases, paralysis can occur. The number of foci of destruction in the brain and spinal cord is sometimes so large that even a complete recovery will not return the nervous system to full mode.
It is worth knowing that damage to the nervous system is more common in humans than in cats. The animals have a low percentage of a similar course of the disease, only 7% of the total number of infected animals. But in any case, the effectiveness and timeliness of treatment is the only sure way to minimize damage to the cat’s health.
The first symptoms of toxoplasmosis during the initial infection are more likely to be a cold than a serious parasitic disease. That is, the cat has a runny nose, excessive lacrimation. Sometimes even vomiting or diarrhea, which are recorded only once.
If re-infection does not occur, then the cat is safe, unable to infect anyone else. She will not excrete more cysts with feces. However, if the pet re-contacted with the source of infection, then it again begins to secrete the parasite into the external environment. A cat is dangerous only when it has an acute or subacute course. As soon as toxoplasmosis has become chronic, only the cat suffers.
Symptoms are nonspecific. For example, fever, cramps, or muscle tremors rise. Often recorded clinical signs characteristic of respiratory diseases: cough, runny nose and sneezing, shortness of breath, conjunctivitis. Appetite decreases, and the pet itself becomes lethargic. Diarrhea may occur or constipation, vomiting, but once, rarely recur.
The body's defenses control the level of movement and reproduction of parasites. Toxoplasmas sharply reduce activity or completely cease any activity. They are as if closed in intracellular cysts. In the "frozen" state, they are able to exist for an indefinite period of time, so the disease may not manifest itself externally.
Which cats are more at risk of infection?
The likelihood of toxoplasmosis in cats younger than a year and older than seven years is higher than in their relatives of a different age. After all, the immunity of too young and old enough animals is far from the peak of its capabilities. Among other things, the risk group includes:
- cats whose diet includes raw meat (approximately 30% of meat products sold in the store are infected with cysts);
- cats walking on the street (they can catch and eat a sick rodent, a bird);
- Sick and recently sick pets (weakened immune system).
How can I get cat toxoplasmosis?
The greatest threat level comes from a cat suffering from acute toxoplasmosis. During this period, parasites leave the pet's body not only with feces, but also through saliva, tears, urine, and outflows from the nose. If the animal gave birth to dead kittens or had an involuntary abortion, then toxoplasma will come out also with milk. For humans, this period is the most dangerous time. Also, even if the cat is normally born, talking with her, you must adhere to the rules of hygiene.
In the world there are many countries in which toxoplasmosis affects most of the population. But this is not a signal to refuse to communicate with a cute furry animal. The main thing is to know how toxoplasmosis can penetrate the body and make an effort to prevent this from happening. So, the disease can be transmitted to humans through the following sources:
- Plate. Poorly processed, unfinished meat.
- Transplantation of internal organs.
- From the mother, still in the womb.
- In contact with the ground.
- Lack of hygiene.
- Wounds on the body.
Diagnosis and treatment
It is extremely difficult to confirm the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in a cat. After all, the parasite in feces is present only a few weeks, so a coproscopic examination may not produce results. Symptoms of toxoplasmosis are not very specific, so it is extremely difficult to establish a diagnosis. As an option, this is a bioassay on the mice. Not cheap, it takes time, but most efficiently. Blood does not always help to investigate, although you can resort to PCR.
Among other things, you can examine the feces of an animal, or undergo a serological test for toxoplasmosis in cats. You can still conduct cytological studies.
A negative result does not give a 100% guarantee that the cat is not a carrier of the simplest. You need to try another research method that the veterinarian will offer you.
In humans, you can check the blood for antibodies to toxoplasma. All pregnant women who are registered must donate blood for examination. To expectant mothers, toxoplasmosis is very dangerous. It causes not only the deformity of the fetus, but even its death. In feces, nothing can be detected. For this reason, pregnant women are not advised to come into contact with cats or start new ones, since they can be with an acute course.
How to treat toxoplasmosis in cats? Unfortunately,the cat will not be completely cured of toxoplasmosis. Basically, therapy is aimed at eliminating the symptoms, restoring the affected organs. Destroy the simplest will not work. Familiar anthelmintics are useless, because they are aimed at eliminating cestodes, nematodes or trematodes, but not at all on the simplest ones.
Typically, the treatment of a cat is delayed for a long time (from several months to a year). In addition to drugs for rehabilitation and symptomatic therapy, ongoing tests are needed. For this reason, consult a good veterinarian with decent work experience. A charitable forecast is provided only to those pets that have strong immunity. If the whisker is often sick, he has inflammatory processes, then it is unlikely to help him.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine. Anthelmintic drugs are not effective in this disease. Therefore, the only prevention of toxoplasmosis is to not allow the cat to eat rodents, raw meat, not to sniff and not to lick your shoes (clean it immediately in the closet as soon as you arrive). Do not let the cat walk on the street. Even if you have your own site, on which there are no other cats, cysts can be brought by the wind. They can be on grass, vegetables, flowers. Yes, anywhere. Do not forget that even 17 months after the cat is excreted from the body, the parasite can still infect someone.
If your pet still rushes to the street or loves to hunt, you will have to attach a bell to her collar. Then she will not succeed in catching a sick feathered or rodent. This means that the risk of infection is reduced.
And be sure to strengthen the cat's immunity. Visit your veterinarian at least once a year to rule out inflammation, infectious or parasitic diseases that reduce your immune response. The stronger it is, the greater the chance that the parasite will not be able to "survive" in the cat's body.
For humans, the only prevention is compliance with safety measures. If possible, do not contact stray or other people's cats, wash your hands immediately after contact with him. Remove excrement from the tray immediately; do not keep it in the tray for more than 24 hours. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when cleaning. It is better for pregnant women to refrain from this process. Let them ask someone from family members to do this or give their pets. Do not let cats climb your bed, walk around the table, eat or drink from your dishes. Of course, no kisses. It’s not known where your pet’s muzzle was and what the cat licked.
Pregnancy and cats with toxoplasmosis
Despite the fact that the cat may not have symptoms of toxoplasmosis at all, this does not mean that it is not a source of infection. Toxoplasmas are not afraid of a healthy adult, since in his body they are literally and figuratively locked in cells. But the toxoplasma embryo can seriously harm. Parasites that cross the placenta can invade the embryo, cause congenital abnormalities, lead to an increase in gestational age and even miscarriage.
Checking a cat for toxoplasmosis is not available in all clinics, so the best way to prevent a pregnant woman is to completely stop contact with a cat.
It is worth clarifying that this measure should be applied only to women who have not previously had toxoplasmosis. This can be ascertained by analysis. If the results of the studies show the presence of sleeping (in an encapsulated state) toxoplasma in the body of a pregnant woman, then you can not worry about the health of the fetus. In this case, the baby will be protected by the immune system, it will not allow the toxoplasma to pass through the placenta. Moreover, it does not matter how clearly the cat is infected with toxoplasmosis and whether it has the secretion of cysts through feces.
But if a woman did not have, and there is no toxoplasmosis, then in addition to limiting contacts, additional preventive measures must be observed:
- butcher raw meat with caution;
- rinse and scald fruits and vegetables;
- if you have to work, it is better to wear gloves.
It is worth knowing that from a woman infected with toxoplasmosis, the disease can be transmitted to the fetus only once, the same applies to cats. Therefore, during subsequent pregnancy, the risk of giving birth to a baby with pathological abnormalities is equal to zero.
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