View Full Version : Worried about Toxoplasma from cats while TTC?
10-11-2005, 07:01 AM
For those of you with cats while pregnant, TTC, or small children... were you worried about Toxoplasmosis?
I know that cats can have this parasite with no symptoms, but can cause severe problems in pregnant women. Now, I know that we are not supposed to clean the litter box while pregnant, but do you know of other precautions we need to take?
For example, do you know if the vet can test for Toxo, and if negative, can we clean the litter box, etc?
DH and I are about to TTC, and we have 3 indoor only cats. I'm wondering if we can just get them checked, and then not worry about it. If anyone has ever asked their vet about this, I'd love to hear about it. I checked the CDC website and all it said about exposure was "accidently swallowing cat feces". Yuck! I DON'T think this will be a problem!
You can also get it from undercooked meat or gardening (animal excrement in the soil I believe) as well as form changing a contaminated litter box.
First of all, you can get tested to see if you've ever been exposed. If you have you'll have a positive titer and will not be able to pass it on to a potential baby (unless you had a current infection). You can also have your cats tested to see if they have or have ever had the virus.
10-11-2005, 07:51 AM
My understanding is that outdoor cats are much more likely to carry this virus than strictly-indoor cats, and if your cat does carry it, and you've had your cat for a year or more, you have most likely been exposed & carry the antibodies. Of course, you should be tested if you're at all concerned.
I'm not sure what doctors advise if your cat carries the virus but you do not carry the antibodies.
"My understanding is that outdoor cats are much more likely to carry this virus than strictly-indoor cats, and if your cat does carry it, and you've had your cat for a year or more, you have most likely been exposed & carry the antibodies. Of course, you should be tested if you're at all concerned."
This is definitely usually the case, but not for me. :p I've had cats my entire life and never contracted it, to my OBs surprise. When I had my cats tested one of them tested positive for a past infection (they could tell by the antibody level) and she, as well as my other cat, were strictly indoor cats.
It definitely doesn't hurt to get tested.
10-11-2005, 08:13 AM
You can get tested if you want, but all that is going to tell you is if you have antibodies for toxoplasmosis. But do you have them because you are having Toxo right now, or you had it before, they won't know...
If you are negative, well, then you'll know that you don't have it, and never have, but that is it.
You can ask to test you cats too, but there are no really good test for that that will assure you wheter your cat has it or not.
I'm a vet, I work with cats all day long. I just had a boy 3 months ago, and he didn't have any problem with Toxo. As a matter of fact, I have been tested for that (since my chances of getting infected are really high) and I tested negative! In my 3 years of practice, and 4 years of vet shcool, I never caught Toxo. So not THAT easy to get.
DOn't clean the litterbox, don't garden without gloves, and don't eat undercook meat, and you'll be fine. If you have indoors cats, chances are they don,t have it. But if it makes you freak out, just clean your hands after each time you touch them. Again, I've been working with animals that HAVE toxo, and I never caught it, so good hygien is the best!
ETA :accidently ingesting cats feces...this is what you want to prevent by gardening with gloves...Cats will do and do feces in your garden, and then you'll get your veggies out, and eat them...they might be infected and you don't know. So garden with gloves, and ALWAYS wash well the veggies before eating them.
And just by the way girls, Toxo isn't a virus, is it a PARASITE. That is why test aren't as good as with virus or bacterias...
I stand corrected on it being a parasite, not a virus, however this is not necessarily true:
"You can get tested if you want, but all that is going to tell you is if you have antibodies for toxoplasmosis. But do you have them because you are having Toxo right now, or you had it before, they won't know..."
They can often times tell if you have a current infection or have had an infection in the past based on your antibody level. I only know because my Dad owned some very well known medical/veterinary labs until recently and I've discussed my cponcerns with him.
"It is difficult for a pregnant woman to know if she has become infected. Only 10% ever have any symptoms, and these are mild (flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, generalized swollen lymph nodes). There are blood tests, however, that can clarify the situation. Two types of antibodies to toxoplasma are measured -- IgG and IgM. If the IgG is negative, you do not now (and never have had) toxoplasmosis. If the IgG is positive, you have had the infection at some time. If the IgM is negative, it is almost certain that the infection was prior to conception. If the levels are high or there is any question, repeat or more advanced testing can further pinpoint the time of infection."
It's a great excuse to have your hubby clean the litter box!:p
10-11-2005, 09:08 AM
I don't have a cat but when my OB mentioned toxoplasmosis to me she said that what most people don't realize is that you have to eat the spores or whatever it is called that the parasite live in. Her words were, "So, I just tell me patients with cats that if they clean the litterbox, please don't eat the poop."
Of course, this means wash your hands really well after cleaning the litterbox (get under your nails with a scrub brush if you can). Also, wash your fruits and veggies really well (I use soap and water).
10-11-2005, 07:12 PM
my vet said it was really hard to catch it-I just had DH clean the box
10-12-2005, 11:41 AM
Your cat has to be actively shedding it for it to be in the feces and for you to catch it from your cat's feces. Cats only shed the parasite for a small amount of time, after which they can still be "infected" but not shedding and thus absolutely NO risk to you. In addition, cats catch this parasite by ingesting mice/rodents. That is the only way they can get it. So, if you have indoor only cats and you don't have a mouse in the house, the liklihood of your cat ingesting a mouse, catching Toxo and then shedding it into his litter box is extremely minimal. Even if your cat was an outdoor cat before you adopted it, the infection has to be recent for the cat to be shedding.
The problem with testing cats for Toxo is that many vets will do an antibody test on the cat's blood. If this comes back positive, it means that the cat has been exposed to Toxo. It does NOT however mean that it is either currently infected or even if it is currently infected, shedding the parasite in it's feces. If you get your cat tested, make sure the vet tests the feces to see if Toxo is being shed, as this is the only way that your cat is a danger to you.
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