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Cats and Toxoplasmosis

Have you ever heard that handling litterboxes is dangerous for pregnant women? It’s true that everyone, especially pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems, should take precautions against toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted by cats. A local vet discusses toxoplasmosis below.

What Is Toxoplasmosis?

First, it’s important to understand that not all cats have toxoplasmosis. Cats can contract it by eating rodents, birds, or other small animals infected by the parasite Toxoplasma. The parasite can then be transmitted through cats’ feces for up to three weeks after infection. Cat feces containing the Toxoplasma parasite can pose serious risks to unborn children.

Toxoplasmosis can also be contracted from raw food, sand, or garden soil that has been contaminated by the Toxoplasma parasite.

Prevention

Washing your hands thoroughly will greatly reduce the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. Wash your hands after handling the litterbox. Follow food safety guidelines for proper cooking and handling of raw meat and fresh produce. Wear gloves when gardening, and wash your hands afterwards.

Ideally, pregnant women should avoid changing litterboxes. If that’s not possible, the CDC recommends pregnant women wear disposable gloves while changing cat litter and wash hands thoroughly immediately afterwards. Cat litter should be changed daily since the Toxoplasma parasite only becomes infectious one to five days after it’s shed in feces. Keep your cat indoors to reduce its exposure to parasite-carrying animals. For any questions about your health and toxoplasmosis, consult your healthcare provider.

Don’t Give Fluffy Away

There’s no need to give up your cat if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant! Kitties are not only wonderful and loving pets; they may actually be beneficial to children. Our feline pals soothe kids in troubled times, provide children with unconditional love, and make great playmates and cuddle buddies! Some studies show that having pets can even boost kids’ immune systems.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your vet clinic, today!

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