Toxoplasmosis Symptoms in Cats

Toxoplasmosis is a contagious disease that may affect your pet. The disease occurs due to a parasite called toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is transmitted from other infected animals. Kittens or elderly cats and felines with a weakened immunity may be more susceptible to contracting the parasite. Toxoplasmosis symptoms in cats are listed below.

Toxoplasmosis Symptoms in Cats

Toxoplasmosis may pass unnoticed as some cats will not present any symptoms. Some cats may only be carriers of the parasites and not show symptoms for a long time and the infection may burst out at any time.

Common symptoms of the toxoplasma gondii parasite include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Inflamed ocular globes and sometimes a watery discharge
  • Photophobia
  • Miotic pupils
  • Respiratory problems
  • Lack of balance, in rare cases
  • Muscular pain
  • Swollen lymphatic nodes

Some of these symptoms are similar to the flu symptoms. A vet may perform some tests and determine the underlying cause.

Fever, anorexia or seizures are uncommon symptoms but may occur in your pet.

Transmission of Toxoplasmosis

The toxoplasma gondii parasite may be transmitted through cysts, which may be ingested. These cysts may be found in contaminated water or soil, cat feces, blood of an infected animal, unpasteurized milk or contaminated meat.

The parasite may be transmitted from mother to kitten.

Treating Toxoplasmosis in Cats

The parasite occurs in the blood of the pet, so a simple blood test may confirm the existence of the infection. The vet may also perform the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

The treatment of toxoplasmosis consists of antibiotics and anti protozoan drugs. The vet will probably prescribe sulfazine, clydamycin or anti-malarial medication.

Cats with a healthy immune system respond well to medication and can be fully treated. However, cats with a compromised immune system will have difficulties in recovering and may develop complications.

If left untreated, toxoplasmosis may cause eye problems, neurological diseases and muscular pain.

Prevention of Toxoplasmosis

As toxoplasmosis is spread most frequently through feces, your cat should be kept away from any infected felines. However, cat feces may be present in contaminated water or soil.

The toxoplasma gondii parasites may live for up to 1 year in an environment. The parasite cannot be destroyed by frost or chemicals. Only high temperatures may kill the parasite. Keep an eye on your cat and make sure he doesn’t eat feces from the park or on the beach, as sand may also be contaminated with parasitic cysts.

Don’t feed your cat raw meat that may be contaminated with the toxomplasma parasite.

Don’t allow your cat to eat small animals such as birds or mice, as these may also be carriers of the parasite.

If you give your pet milk, make sure it is pasteurized.

Humans may get infected with the toxoplasmosis parasite. Healthy humans are immune to the parasite, however pregnant women should be cautions, as the parasite may harm the fetus. Women that have been in contact with the parasite before getting pregnant are not at risk; however, if the contact with the parasite has taken place after the beginning of the pregnancy, the fetus is at risk.