Toxoplasmosis - what is it and is it harmful to kittens?

It is one of the most common parasites in cats and can be transmitted to humans: Toxoplasma. But what exactly is it and is it harmful to kittens? What type of signs and symptoms would an infected kitten show? And it toxoplasmosis treatable?

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. It affects a variety of hosts, including cats, humans, birds, and other warm-blooded animals. 

In cats, the parasite is mainly found in their feces, which can be spread to other animals and humans. The toxoplasmosis parasite develops within the intestines and is then shed through their feces. It can survive for several months in the environment, and it can be transmitted through contact with contaminated soil or water. Cat feces are the main source of transmission for humans, and it can be spread through contact with an infected cat or through contact with the environment in which the cat has recently been.

Kittens can be infected with toxoplasmosis, and the infection can be severe in young cats. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia and cause damage to internal organs. Some kittens, however, do not show any signs of infection and have to issue with carrying the parasite. 

Adult Cats infected with toxoplasmosis will frequently have no symptoms. A smaller number of cats might develop diarrhea, or respiratory problems, or problems with their eyes. The majority, though, will be permanently infected with the parasite and show no outward signs of illness. 

If you suspect your kitten to be infected and sick, let a vet check your pet as soon as possible. Toxoplasmosis can be treated with antibiotics, such as sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine. In some cases, an anti-inflammatory drug may also be prescribed. Your veterinarian may also recommend other supportive therapies, such as intravenous fluids and nutritional support.

To prevent infection, kittens should be regularly dewormed and tested for the parasite. Good hygiene practices, such as washing hands after contact with cat feces, can also help prevent the spread of the parasite. Humans should also avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, as this can increase the risk of infection.

For more information, visit our page on general kitten health and common kitten diseases.