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Toxoplasmosis advise from our Dublin Vets

Toxoplasmosis and its potential concerns in Dublin Vets

In our Dublin Vets Practice’s, we are regularly asked about the subject of Toxoplasmosis and its potential concerns and  risks for pregnant females. Many people may not have heard of Toxoplasma; it is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii, whose preferred host is the domestic cat, but which can live in almost all mammals including man as intermediate hosts. Infection is very common with T. Gondii, but it only rarely causes disease in either cats or other intermediate hosts.

In an average Dublin Vet Practice approximately 30% of people attending if tested would show evidence of previous exposure. Studies have shown, there is no increased risk of infection in the owners of pet cats and it is through the eating of undercooked meat is the prime source of infection in humans.

However a first infection with Toxoplasma during pregnancy can have very serious consequences to the unborn baby, as a small percentage of babies infected in utero can be born with neurological or other diseases. If however a mother has immunity from a previous infection, there is no risk to the child and this exposure can be tested for in your maternity hospital. Thankfully I know of no cases in our Dublin Vet Practices of infections in humans causing a serious issue, but that is not to say there hasn’t bee any.

In our Dublin Vet Practice’s, we advise the following precautions are taken by all pregnant women who own cats as a precaution against toxoplasmosis but obviously if you own a cat and are pregnant it is advisable to consult with your medical practitioner also

1. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat

2. Always wash your hands after handling raw meat, fruit and vegetables and before handling other food. Wash knives, cooking utensils and work surfaces after food preparation.

3. Pregnant women should avoid handling soiled litter/ trays. Clean tray twice daily and disinfect with boiling water. The parasite does not become infective to humans until greater than 24hours after it has been voided from the cat. So if a litter tray is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily, it will not be a source of potential oocysts.

4. Wear gloves when gardening

5. Raw meat or untreated milk should not be fed to cats to discourage them from hunting.

The above precautions will significantly reduce the chances of at risk individuals getting the disease. We in our Dublin Vet Practice’s are always happy to advise you on any aspect of your pets health

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