Pet medication - Toxoplasmosis

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Pet health


General Illnesses and Diseases

Toxoplasmosis
What You Should Know About Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. It is not a new disease, having first been discovered in 1908. Since its discovery, toxoplasmosis has been found in virtually all warm-blooded animals including most pets, livestock, and human beings. Nearly one-third of all adults in the U.S. and in Europe have antibodies to Toxoplasma, which means they have been exposed to this parasite.

How do people become infected with Toxoplasmosis?
There are 3 principal ways Toxoplasma is transmitted:

Directly from pregnant mother to unborn child when the mother becomes infected with Toxoplasma during pregnancy.
Consumption and handling of undercooked or raw meat from infected animals.
Ingestion of food or water or inhalation of dust contaminated with a very resistant form of Toxoplasma called the oocyst (pronounced o-o-cyst) during a period called Stage F.

Pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry are sources of meat commonly infected with Toxoplasma. Toxoplasma in meat can be killed by cooking at 152ºF (66ºC) or higher or freezing for a day in a household freezer. Of all the infected animals tested, only cats are the perfect hosts for the production of the infectious and resistant Toxoplasma oocysts. The oocyst, released from the intestine of cats in their feces, is very hardy and can survive sleet, freezing, and even several months of extreme heat and dehydration. Moreover, oocysts can be carried long distances by wind and water. Thus the threat of toxoplasmosis can be greatly reduced when Toxoplasma oocysts are destroyed.

Dangers of toxoplasmosis in human beings
There are two populations at high risk for infection with Toxoplasma; pregnant women and immunodeficient individuals. In the United States it is estimated that approximately 3,000 children are born infected with toxoplasmosis every year. Although the majority of infected infants show no symptoms of toxoplasmosis at birth, many are likely to develop signs of infection later in life. Loss of vision, mental retardation, loss of hearing, and death in severe cases, are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis in congenitally infected children. Ideally, women who are in frequent contact with cats should be serologically tested for Toxoplasma gondii before becoming pregnant, because, if they are already seropositive, they are not at risk of acquiring a primary, acute infection during pregnancy.

The epidemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has created an expanding population of susceptible individuals. Usually, people suffering from both AIDS and toxoplasmosis have been exposed to the Toxoplasma parasite earlier in life and the HIV infection simply allowed the Toxoplasma parasite to grow unchecked. These patients develop neurologic diseases and can experience convulsions, paralysis, coma or even die from toxoplasmosis even after treatment is administered. Pets can be companions for AIDS patients suffering from toxoplasmosis and usually pose no additional threat from further transmission of Toxoplasma parasites. Since cats usually shed Toxoplasma in their feces for only one to two weeks in their lives and because oocysts are not infectious immediately after passage from the cat, the risk of human Toxoplasma infection from pet cats can be greatly reduced with minimal prevention.

To prevent exposure to Toxoplasma:
Follow these steps, especially during pregnancy.
to prevent exposure to Toxoplasma: 1-800-PetMeds - America's Pet Health Resource

Signs of Ill Health

Only a healthy pet is a happy companion. Assuring your pet's daily well-being requires regular care and close attention to any hint of ill health. The American Veterinary Medical Association therefore suggests that you consult your veterinarian if your pet shows any of the following signs:

Abnormal discharges from the nose, eyes, or other body openings
Loss of appetite, marked weight losses or gains, or excessive water consumption
Difficult, abnormal, or uncontrolled waste elimination
Abnormal behavior, sudden viciousness, or lethargy
Abnormal lumps, limping, or difficulty getting up or lying down
Excessive head shaking, scratching, and licking or biting any part of the body
Dandruff, loss of hair, open sores, and a ragged or dull coat. Foul breath or excessive tarter deposits on teeth

Change litter daily before any Toxoplasma oocysts can "ripen" and become infectious (Stage F). Dispose of used litter safely, preferably in a sealed plastic bag. If pregnant, avoid changing the litter box if possible (or use rubber gloves).
Wash vegetables thoroughly before eating, especially those grown in backyard gardens. Boil water from ponds or streams before drinking when camping or hiking.
Cover sand boxes when not in use to discourage cats defecating in them.
Wash hands with soap and water after working with soil or after handling raw or undercooked meat.
Cutting boards, knives, and the sink and counters should be washed well after cutting meat.
When cooking, avoid tasting meat before it is fully cooked.
Cook meat thoroughly until the internal temperature reaches 152ºF (66ºC) in a conventional oven. Microwaving is not a sure way to kill Toxoplasma in meat.

How do cats become infected with Toxoplasma?
Although cats can be infected by the same means as humans, the most likely sources of toxoplasmosis in cats is from eating mice, birds, and other small animals that are infected with the Toxoplasma parasite. For indoor cats, the most likely source is uncooked meat scraps. When a cat is exposed to Toxoplasma parasites through the consumption of infected meat or tissues, the cat can eventually excrete millions of Toxoplasma oocysts in its feces each day. This release of oocysts can continue for up to two weeks. Oocysts in feces become infectious (reach Stage F) after one to two days. Since most cats do not leave feces on their fur for two days, it is unlikely that humans become infected from direct contact with cats themselves. Because cats usually exhibit no signs of illness while passing oocysts, it is difficult to determine when a particular cat's feces may be infectious to people or other mammals. Most adult cats will not pass oocysts eve year. Although the majority of infected infants show no symptoms of toxoplasmosis at birth, many are likely to develop signs of infection later in life. Loss of vision, mental retardation, loss of hearing, and death in severe cases, are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis in congenitally infected children. Ideally, women who are in frequent contact with cats should be serologically tested for Toxoplasma gondii before becoming pregnant, because, if they are already seropositive, they are not at risk of asymptoms of toxoplasmosis, there have been cases in cats associating toxoplasmosis with pneumonia, liver damage, and loss of vision. Why some cats show symptoms and other cats do not is not known. Concurrent infection with other diseases (feline leukemia, feline AIDS) can aggravate toxoplasmosis in cats. Treatment can be effective if the disease is diagnosed early. A blood test for Toxoplasma antibodies helps in diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in sick cats.
Find here the Medication given by the veterinatian.

To help prevent Toxoplasma infection in cats, follow these steps:

Keep cats indoors and do not allow them to hunt rodents and birds.
Feed cats only cooked meat or processed food from commercial sources.

At present there is no vaccine for toxoplasmosis in cats. Efforts are, however, underway to market a vaccine to prevent Toxoplasma oocyst shedding by cats.

This information was prepared by Dr. J. P. Dubey, Senior Scientist, parasite Biology and Epidemiology Laboratory, Livestock and Poultry Sciences Institute, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland 20705.

More information here,
1-800-PetMeds - America's Pet Health Resource
Grooming

Dogs
Regular brushing, bathing, and nail care are essential. Protect your puppy's eyes and ears when bathing, and don't allow the puppy to become chilled after bathing. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do not bathe your puppy when it is younger than 10 to 12 weeks unless absolutely necessary (especially if your puppy is one of the smaller breeds).

Cats
Cats do a good job of grooming themselves, but regular brushing to prevent matting of hair is important. Cats rarely need a bath, but one can be given if necessary. Cats object to bathing in slippery tubs, so give your kitten something to cling to, such as a wood platform or a wire screen. Use a shampoo designed for cats and kittens, as some dog shampoos may be irritating. Place cotton balls in the kitten's ears to keep out water and use an ophthalmic ointment (obtain one that is safe for kittens from your veterinarian) in its eyes to prevent burning from shampoo. Towel dry the kitten completely and gently comb out any mats. Kittens' teeth should be carefully brushed on a regular basis. Your veterinarian can provide you with an appropriate toothbrush, dentifrice, and instruction on how to perform this task so that your kitten learns to accept this as part of its daily care.

Mealtime
Puppies
Feed a high quality diet designed for puppies. A wide variety of diets and formulations are available and your veterinarian should be your primary source of information as to the best choice for your puppy. The amount fed will vary with the type of food and the individual dog, but in general, should only be as much as the puppy can consume in 5 to 10 minutes at a given meal. Puppies are usually fed 3 times daily when between 6 and 12 weeks old, 2 times daily when 12 weeks to 6 months old, and may be fed 1 or 2 times daily when older than 6 months. For certain large breeds of dogs, your veterinarian may recommend that several smaller meals be fed rather than 1 large meal (even when your dog becomes an adult) because an association has been suggested between the consumption of large meals and a serious medical condition called gastric dilatation/volvulus or "bloat."

Kittens
Feed a high quality diet designed for kittens. Your veterinarian is your best source for information regarding an appropriate diet for your kitten. Dry foods are usually most economical and have the advantage of providing a rough surface that will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your kitten's teeth, but canned foods can be fed/supplemented if desired. Amount fed will depend on the diet, as well as the age, size, and activity level of your kitten. Kittens can be fed free-choice or at set mealtimes; however, many veterinarians recommend feeding all pets at set mealtimes because intake can be more easily monitored. Canned foods should always be fed at set times, because if left unrefrigerated, they can spoil. I recommend use of stainless steel bowls because plastic and ceramic bowls can scratch, leaving crevices for bacteria to hide. The latter types of bowls (and resultant resident bacteria) have been associated with feline "acne" and skin irritation.
1-800-PetMeds - America's Pet Health Resource
Recognizing Illness

Only a healthy pet is a happy companion. Assuring your pet's daily well-being requires regular care and close attention to any hint of ill health. The American Veterinary Medical Association therefore suggests that you consult your veterinarian if your pet shows any of the following signs:

Abnormal discharges from the nose, eyes, or other body openings.
Abnormal behavior, sudden viciousness, or lethargy.
Abnormal lumps, limping, or difficulty getting up or lying down.
Loss of appetite, marked weight losses or gains, or excessive water consumption.
Difficult, abnormal, or uncontrolled waste elimination.
Excessive head shaking, scratching, and licking or biting any part of the body.
Dandruff, loss of hair, open sores, or a ragged or dull coat.
Foul breath or excessive tarter deposits on teeth.

Please bookmark this URLPet care, health, medications here