PETIGREE MAGAZINE ISSUE 4 - Page 23

F E AT U R E than raw meat. - Care of a sick cat should be left to someone else, hence handling or adopting stray cats should be avoided. - It is also a good idea to cover children’s sandpits to prevent cats using them as litter boxes. - Cats most often become carriers of toxoplasmosis by killing and eating wild animals that have been infected, therefore, a good reason not to let the cat outside to hunt. How is it treated in pregnant women? Antibiotics are available that can clear up most of the symptoms of toxoplasmosis. Although they do not kill the parasite, they can provide an effective treatment. If a pregnant woman has a positive blood test result, she may be prescribed antibiotic that reduces the risk of the infection being passed from her to the baby. If the child is infected, a combination of stronger antibiotics may limit damage to the baby. What is your advice to our readers regarding Toxoplasmosis? I would like to advise to have all your household cats tested for antibodies to Toxoplasma. Many veterinary hospitals in Dubai provide this service. If possible, the cat should be tested before the woman becomes pregnant. The Veterinary doctor will explain your results to you. Get yourself tested for antibodies, preferably before becoming pregnant. A positive test would indicate past infection that will not be transmitted to the baby. Many women, cat owners come to my consult room terrified of toxoplasma infection. I would like to highlight the fact that the risk of getting toxoplasmosis when you are pregnant is very low. Owning a cat doesn’t mean that you will be infected with the disease. You are unlikely to be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected pet or through cat bites and scratches. In addition, cats kept indoors that do not hunt or consume raw meat are not likely to be infected with T. gondii. In general, people are much more likely to become infected through eating raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables than from handling cat faeces. 24