Second Chance: Toxoplasmosis
Do you need to give up your cat just because you’re pregnant? According to the Humane Society of the United States, the answer is an emphatic no.
The worry is rooted in a disease called toxoplasmosis which can lead to miscarriages. But that doesn’t mean you need to abandon your furry friend to a shelter. In fact, your risks are of contracting the disease are far greater from consuming uncooked meat than from your beloved cat. Even so, here is a little bit more about the disease and a few simple steps to follow to avoid infection.
First, cats can become infected by toxoplasmosis from eating rodents, birds, soil or other contaminated meat. Once contaminated, they dispel cysts in their feces for about two weeks – after which time they typically acquire an immunity (and cannot be re-infected) and are no longer transmitters of the disease. Furthermore, the cysts in their feces take 1-5 days to become infectious; thus, cleaning the litter box daily further reduces risk of contagion.
Several additional factors keep the chance of transmission low. The risk to cats is limited to outdoor cats who hunt and eat rodents, or cats who are fed raw meat by their owners. An outdoor hunting cat is often exposed to the disease at a young age and is, therefore, less likely to transmit the infection as he ages. Cats and people can both be tested, and when positive for carrying the antibodies of this disease, the risk in contracting the disease is eliminated for both parties.
The Humane Society of the United States published guide, Toxoplasmosis: A Practical Guide for the Clinician, written by Dr. Jeffrey D. Kravetz, Yale University School of Medicine, offers a few more suggestions:
- Don’t handle or eat uncooked or undercooked meat.
- Clean cutting boards, counters, plates, and utensils that have been in contact with meat.
- Have someone else clean the litter box daily.
- If you must clean the litter box, wear rubber gloves and follow with a thorough hand washing. Scoop feces as soon as you can, and at least daily, since it takes one to five days for feces to become infectious.
- Feed cats only commercially prepared cat food or well cooked meat.
Today’s Pet Column has been brought to you by Chuck, a handsome 5 year young adoptable feline available for adoption. However, if you are a dog person, I would suggest adopting me, Freckles a 2.5 year young beautiful heeler. I get along well with other dogs here at the shelter but still need to build my socialization skills with new people and dogs. I love playing fetch, sniffing around, and picking up sticks on walks.
Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.
By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org
Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.
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