Toxoplasmosis and Pregnancy: The Cat Can Stay!

We admit it – we mostly think about cats!  That said, we care A LOT about their humans too!  We’re often asked about extra precautions to take when a kitty’s person is pregnant, and toxoplasmosis is a common source of concern.  See below for the skinny of safety when it comes to toxoplasmosis.

 

First thing’s first: it’s important to bring this question up with a human healthcare provider as well, so be sure to do so at your next appointment.

What is Toxoplasmosis?

  • Toxoplasmosis is the disease that is caused by being infected with a parasite, Toxoplama gondii
  • People get Toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked meat that is infected, by handling infected soil (gardening), or by unsanitary handling of infected stool. 
  • It takes over an entire day for eggs that are shed in stool to become infective.
  • One must ingest the infective eggs in the stool for disease to occur.

Toxoplasma and Cats:

  • Cats that eat raw meat or rodents can be infected, and the parasite lives in the cat’s feces for only two weeks. If infected cat feces is buried in soil, Toxoplasma gondii eggs can live up to 18 months.
  • You are MUCH MORE LIKELY to contract toxoplasmosis from handling/consuming undercooked meat than you are from your cat.  MUCH.
  • Exceedingly few adult cats shed toxo in feces.  (Kittens, especially those with diarrhea, are a different story.)
  • It takes over an entire day for eggs that are shed in stool to become infective.
  • One must ingest the infective eggs in the stool for disease to occur.
  • To avoid infection in your cat, do not feed him raw meat.

 

Fetal toxoplasmosis is very rare

 

Testing is Available for Toxoplasmosis testing, however we don’t generally recommend it:

  • Fecal PCR: to see if there’s actual active shedding of infectious eggs.
  • Serologic immunoglobulin G and M titers: to let us know if there has been exposure and subsequent immunity in the past.

Tips to Avoid Toxoplasmosis:

  • Have your partner or a friend scoop the litter box while you’re pregnant, and make sure it is done at least once daily.
  • Pay close attention to hand hygiene, practicing good hand-washing every time you’re in contact with urine or fecal material, especially if your cat is under the weather.
  • Wear gloves when gardening, especially if you are immunocompromised or pregnant.
  • Do not eat undercooked meat.
  • If your cat isn’t feeling well (low appetite, low energy, vomiting, or diarrhea), get them checked out by a veterinarian
  • If you’re immune-compromised, be sure to talk to your physician about safe animal handling practices

 

Need more tips? We’re here to help!

As always, we are not only here to help your cats stay healthy, but also to do anything we can to help the special bond between you.

Madison East Side

Cat Care Clinic - East

1006 E. Washington Ave.

Madison, WI 53703


Directions to East Clinic

Madison West Side

Cat Care Clinic - West

322 Junction Rd.

Madison, WI 53717


Directions to West Clinic
Image Description

Title of Card

Longer form card description

Image Description

Title of Card

Longer form card description

Image Description

Title of Card

Longer form card description