Cat owners must read this:
Many pregnant women have been told to get rid of their cats in order to prevent their unborn babies from getting sick, but they’re never really told the reason why. What many people who are offering this advice are referring to is called toxoplasmosis. This is a disease that is caused by a parasite that is commonly found in cats. The majority of cats have already developed the antibodies to handle these parasites, so they never show any signs of being sick, even after being examined by a veterinarian.
So how do cats get infected? Your veterinarian will tell you that cats are most likely to becoming infected with the parasite through the ingestion of infected rodents. Cats that are left to roam outside or have caught and eaten rats found within the home are most likely to be carrying toxoplasmosis. There is no known cure for eliminating this parasite from your cat, so it could be infected, and you may never know.
You can keep your cat, if you follow these rule…
Getting rid of your cat may seem like the best possible approach in order to avoid becoming infected with toxoplasmosis, but that shouldn’t be the case. Cats that are infected are likely to shed the parasite in their feces three to ten days after they’ve ingested an infected rat or infected meat. It is this exposure to the feces that many believe will transmit the toxoplasmosis to pregnant women. However, the shedding is actually quite rare, and only occurs in every one out of 250 cats, making the chances of human infection very unlikely. There are other, more likely sources for toxoplasmosis infection, such as the ingestion of undercooked meat, unpasteurised goat’s milk, contaminated water, inhalation of the organism through infected soil, or from infected litter boxes.
The results of a pregnant woman becoming infected with toxoplasmosis could lead to a miscarriage or delivering a child with birth defects. However, through careful examination and treatment by your veterinarian to test for the parasite and taking the appropriate measures to maintain a clean litter box, there is very little risk of contracting the parasite responsible for the toxoplasmosis infection. Make sure you don’t touch the cat litter and wear disposable gloves.
A simple test can give you peace of mind.
If you are pregnant are you’re wary of contracting such an infection, consider making an appointment with the veterinarians in Markham to take a look at your cat for you. They can provide you with some helpful tips to minimising and/or eliminating your chances for infection that you feel your cat may pose. They can conduct a test on your cat to see if there are any antibodies present. If the test is positive, then the infection is no longer active, and there is no risk of pregnant women becoming infected.
Getting rid of your cat is never an ideal option for any pet owner, pregnant or not, and it pays to be informed of the risk posed to pregnant women before the option is even considered. By knowing what is involved with the toxoplasmosis infection, you can take the proper means to preventing any risk of infection in the future.