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Toxoplasmosis

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm not really sure where this topic should go. It is health related, but in regards to the health of an unborn child rather than a cat.

I'm not pregnant yet, but my husband and I are working on it. I went to my doctor to test for an immunity to toxoplasmosis as I did have indoor/outdoor cats when I was younger although my current cats are indoor only. Well unfortunately I'm not immune

My doctor of course says I should just get rid of the cats (clearly not an animal person). Well that's not much of an option for me, so I'm hoping there may be others that can give some insight on their experience with a pregnancy and having cats.

I know I should have my husband take care of the litter box. I'd rather do it myself, but if gloves and a mask are not sufficient to keep safe I'll have him do it anyways. I have a covered box (booda dome) and use liners. For litter I use Feline Pine. The box is in the laundry room which is a fairly large room between our kitchen and the garage. I do need to go in to this room for doing laundry or taking trash to the garage, but would prefer not to move the box to another room unless it's absolutely necessary.

And last and most important to me is the cats themselves. They both love to cuddle and sleep on our bed with us. Do I need to worry about things they may have walked on in the house being contaminated? They aren't tracking poop around, but is this something that they can leave traces of around the house and in our bed?

When it comes down to it I'd wear a full body protective suit to keep safe for the entire length of a pregnancy rather than get rid of the cats, so any advice is appreciated
post #2 of 17
You might talk to your vet about whether it would be worthwhile to test your cats for toxo.

http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/toxoplasmosis.html
post #3 of 17
I was wondering also if there are tests for cats for a friend of mine... I will ask her to ask the vet for it.

I have a friend with cats and had beautiful healthy twins, I think raw meat and not washing veggies/fruits well are more dangerous than a cat.... in this case not being immune and if the cats take tests and carry the toxoplasmosis then I think is better not letting them sleep in the bed... that is my opinion...

Good luck !
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
I had read about the foods as well, and have been reading around about catching it from the cats. It does sound like a pretty slim chance of getting it from the cats. At this point I think since I've never contracted it that I can assume my 12 year old cat is fine, but I will probably have the kitten tested just in case since he's new in the house and I have no idea if he could have picked it up before he went to the humane society.

So long as the kitten doesn't have it I think I'll be safe around them. I'll probably end up not eating out much though since I can't trust that the people making the food have washed their hands.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronit View Post
I was wondering also if there are tests for cats for a friend of mine... I will ask her to ask the vet for it.

I have a friend with cats and had beautiful healthy twins, I think raw meat and not washing veggies/fruits well are more dangerous than a cat.... in this case not being immune and if the cats take tests and carry the toxoplasmosis then I think is better not letting them sleep in the bed... that is my opinion...

Good luck !
I also read that if a cat gets it they only shed the virus for a period of about 10 days once in their lifetime. So hopefully I'll get lucky and the kitten will turn up negative so I won't have to worry too much about catching it from them.
post #6 of 17
according to what i've read, the biggest danger comes from 'aged' poop... in other words, if the box is scooped frequently [by you or hubbie - preferably hubbie, of course! best reason you'll ever have ] then there shouldn't be a problem.
found this on wikipedia
Quote:
Cats excrete the pathogen in their faeces for a number of weeks after contracting the disease, generally by eating an infected rodent. Even then, cat faeces are not generally contagious for the first day or two after excretion, after which the cyst 'ripens' and becomes potentially pathogenic. Studies have shown that only about 2% of cats are shedding oocysts at any one time, and that oocyst shedding does not recur even after repeated exposure to the parasite. Although the pathogen has been detected on the fur of cats, it has not been found in an infectious form, and direct infection from handling cats is generally believed to be very rare.
here's a link: toxoplasmosis
it explains the aging factor.
post #7 of 17
Once againe I'm so glad my primary OB is cat friendly. I can't believe they suggest getting rid of the cat. it makes me think they are ill informed about the subject. Anyway, here's how my DR. laid it out for me. If your cats are both indoor only the chances of them carrying toxo are very slim. You probably have a better chance of getting it from undercooked meet. It take the virus 24+ hours to become contagious. That said if you wear a mask and cloves, wash your hands after cleaning, and clean it out daily (or at lease the feces) then the chances of you getting it are microscopic.

What I (try) NOT to do anymore is play with or pet my MIL's barn cats. As much as I love them they have a much better chance of carrying it and so I try to keep my distance and always wash thuroughly if I can't resist.
post #8 of 17
I would have the cats tested, and have hubby take care of the litter boxes (daily) and you really shouldn't have anything to worry about in my opinion. You should be more careful of rare steaks than your cats!
post #9 of 17
I agree, it's surprising that a doctor would say that in this day and age. It's an old-fashioned, incorrect view. If you wear gloves and wash hands carefully -- or enjoy the excuse for a nine-month break from cleaning litter and make your husband do it -- no problem.

I had a family member whose immune system was compromised, and he just turned over the litter duties to someone else and coexisted fine with the family cat. The cat slept on his bed, got the usual petting, etc.

Here's a fact sheet from the Humane Society on pregnancy and domestic cats:

http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/pr...plasmosis.html
post #10 of 17
Imagine that most of the gynecologists in Greece suggest women to be as far as possible from cats or houses with cats... but they always miss to tell them not to die their hair / nails or wear any make-up....
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info, I feel a lot more at ease about it now. I bought some masks (just generic dust masks), and some disposable rubber gloves. Will I actually need to use a new mask/pair of gloves every time, or is it safe to reuse the same pair for a few days or a week?

I talked to my insurance today, and am happy to hear that I get to have a separate doctor for all the prenatal stuff, as I'm not too thrilled with my doctor after my last appointment.
post #12 of 17
I would just use the same gloves the whole time, if they're sturdy ones like dishwashing gloves (as opposed to latex gloves, which I imagine would wear out).
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I do have some rubber dishwashing gloves too, but I was thinking since I'm wearing gloves to protect any germs etc from touching my skin.. But I'd be picking the gloves up the next day (and any residual germs) to put them back on. Same with the mask too.

I'm just kind of paranoid since this will be our first and I want to do everything I can to make sure it's safe.
post #14 of 17
If your husband takes care of the litter box, you should be safe... I would make sure to clean the box regularly - once a day; and since you use liners, just dispose of the litter a little more often. For the rest, just making sure your immune system is good is going to do the trick. Toxo is very rare on people with normal immune system. Just as an FYI, I am from Brasil and all the docs in there will tell you to get rid of the cats - I never heard of anybody doing so, or contracting Toxo...
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Labyrinth View Post
Thanks for all the info, I feel a lot more at ease about it now. I bought some masks (just generic dust masks), and some disposable rubber gloves. Will I actually need to use a new mask/pair of gloves every time, or is it safe to reuse the same pair for a few days or a week?

I talked to my insurance today, and am happy to hear that I get to have a separate doctor for all the prenatal stuff, as I'm not too thrilled with my doctor after my last appointment.
I have cheap dust masks and I use the same one until I do a complete change. So, about 2 weeks but I make sure I always put it on the same way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Labyrinth View Post
I do have some rubber dishwashing gloves too, but I was thinking since I'm wearing gloves to protect any germs etc from touching my skin.. But I'd be picking the gloves up the next day (and any residual germs) to put them back on. Same with the mask too.

I'm just kind of paranoid since this will be our first and I want to do everything I can to make sure it's safe.
I don't use gloves but I was my hands well. If your using thin latex gloves I'd just toss them after each use. If your using heavier dish gloves wash them before you take them off then wash your hands and you should be fine.
post #16 of 17
During my three pregnancies (which seemed to go on for three decades) I had two indoor kitties. My husband is not a cat person, and to date has not scooped a litter box. I never used a mask or gloves; my doctor never even suggested it. I scooped, washed my hands thoroughly, and 17, 14, and 11 years later we have all survived. (Except for the kitties, who are both gone now)

You'll be fine - and I'll bet, a caring, compassionate mom. Good luck!
post #17 of 17
I did the same...the job was for my husband to do the litter boxes that didn't last to long..after a few weeks I was doing the litter boxes...my dr. never suggested anything other than washing my hands.....I've had 2 children and all was well....
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