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Feline toxoplasmosis, you, and your cat: Prevention

Preventing toxoplasmosis infection involves some simple precautionary steps for both you and your cat. While there’s no guarantee that you or your cat won’t get it, every step you take may help. Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a single-celled parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). Both domestic and wild felines are the definitive hosts for T. gondii, which means that the cat is the only animal in which the organism reaches sexual maturity. Both cats and humans may become infected by coming in contact with it.

Statistics show that Toxoplasma may be carried by up to 80 percent of the population in some parts of the world. As many as 60 million Americans may be infected. Patients who display Toxoplasmosis symptoms, however, are relatively rare and may be mild. Few people in otherwise good health seek treatment. Infected cats may not show any signs of the disease.

In underdeveloped countries, walking on infected soil with unprotected feet is a factor. For the most part, though, the primary risk factor is from eating undercooked or raw meat.

Below are a few of the things you can do to prevent contracting toxoplasmosis yourself.

Do not eat raw or undercooked meat. If you touch raw meat, do not touch your face.

Ensure that you thoroughly clean your utensils, hands, cutting boards, and sink with soap and warm water after preparing food.

All raw vegetables and fruits need to be thoroughly washed.

Let someone else handle litter box cleaning during pregnancy.

Have the litter box cleaned every day or more than once per day and get rid of cat feces before it becomes infective.

If you handle the cat box duties yourself, wear a mask and disposable rubber gloves and avoid breathing the dust. Wash your hands after cleaning the box.

Always avoid sandboxes since roaming cats may defecate in them.

While gardening, wear gloves and keep your hands away from your face until you wash them.

Do not drink unpasteurized dairy products, especially goat’s milk.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent your cat from contracting the disease.

Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat.

Keep your cat indoors to prevent her from picking up the disease from rodents or birds that may be infected.

Keep your cat indoors in order to keep her away from contaminated soil, plants, or insects.

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