Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis

By DVM 360

Although toxoplasmosis is more commonly associated with cat feces, Toxoplasma gondii is an important cause of abortion in sheep and goats. Transmission to man has been documented from both meat and milk, and there is risk to pregnant women from exposure to aborted fetuses and membranes. Early prenatal infection in women without previous exposure to Toxoplasma may lead to fetal death while infection later in the pregnancy is associated with chorioretinitis, brain damage, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and fever, jaundice and convulsions at birth. Because part of the toxoplasma life cycle must take place in the digestive tract of young cats, all farm cats should be neutered and fed well to maintain a healthy feral population that will kill vermin. Well-fed cats kill more mice and rats than hungry cats, and they are much healthier and live longer. Because cats like to use grain as cat litter, all grain should be well covered to prevent this use. Consumption of thoroughly cooked meat and pasteurized milk, wearing protective gloves and face masks, and good sanitation help prevent toxoplasmosis in humans.