Protozoa aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of serious cat diseases. But toxoplasmosis can be pretty nasty if your cat is young, old or has a weakened immune system. To make matters worse, your cat isn't the only one at risk when Toxoplasma gondii comes around.
Getting your cat treated is important, but your first priority should be the safety of yourself and family members. Toxoplasmosis is a bigger threat to people than it is to felines.
The protozoa responsible for toxoplasmosis reproduce in your cat's digestive tract and are released in his excrement. You can catch the disease when changing your cat's litter or by digging in dirt that an infected cat used as a toilet.
Wear a filtered face mask and rubber gloves when scooping or dumping the pan. Always wear gardening gloves when you are working with soil outside. and wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.
It's challenging to definitively diagnose toxoplasmosis. Lethargy, lack of appetite and other warning signs of toxoplasmosis are pretty generic, so you can't diagnose it by visible symptoms alone.
Vets rely on X-rays as well as blood tests to confirm their suspicions, according to The Winn Feline Foundation. Cats develop an identifiable antibody to the disease after beating an infection, so testing for the antibody reveals past exposure to the toxoplasmosis parasite.
There's a good chance that your cat will recover from toxoplasmosis without any treatment at all. Your vet might prescribe the antibiotic clindamycin or a protozoic inhibiting drug such as pyrimethamine or sulfadiazine if the case is severe enough, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Administer medicine exactly as your vet tells you. Don't giver your pet any medication without consulting a pet health professional.
An infection of toxoplasmosis completes the rotation of the life cycle of these protozoa, so the duration after diagnosis depends on how early the infection was caught. It can take from a few days to a few weeks for your cat to stop shedding contagious protozoa in his excrement.
If your cat displayed symptoms associated with his case of toxoplasmosis, then he should start to get better after a few days on medication, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Treatment lasts for two to three weeks. Don't stop giving your cat his medicine once his symptoms disappear; finish the scheduled course of treatment prescribed by your vet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.