Toxoplasmosis - Treatment & Care

This is one of the world's most common parasites. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. This is a parasitic organism that can infect most animals and birds, but because it reproduces sexually only in cats, wild and domestic felines are the parasite's ordinary host.

Most cats infected with this disease will not show any symptoms, unless the cat's immune response is not adequate to stop the spread of tachyzoite forms. Symptoms will include: fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Your veterinarian can perform a test to determine if your cat has this parasite and also provide the proper treatment.

This disease is not transmitted from humans to human. However, it can be transmitted by coming into contact with cat feces that contain the parasite; eating contaminated food - such as lamb, pork and venison, and drinking contaminated water; drinking unpasteurized milk; using contaminated knives, cutting board and other utensils; eating unwashed fruit and vegetables; and by receiving infected blood or organ transplant.

It is unlikely that you would be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected cat or through cat bites or scratches.

Also, cats kept indoors that do not hunt pray or are not fed raw meat are not likely to be infected.

Healthy people won't know that they contracted this parasite, your immune system will keep the parasites in check. However, some people may develop symptoms similar to those of the flu, such as body aches, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, fatigue, and occasionally, sore throat.

Prevention is quite simple. Make sure you wear gloves when attending your garden or handling soil; wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning your cat's litter box; don't eat raw or undercooked meat; wash your hands and kitchen utensils with soap and water; wash all fruits and vegetables; don't drink unpasteurized milk; and, cover your kid's sandboxes.

For cats, prevention include: keep your feline friend indoors and feed it dry or canned food.

People with weakened immune systems and pregnant woman are more likely to develop signs and symptoms of severe infection. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your physician immediately.

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