Pregnant Women & Cats: How Common Is Toxoplasmosis!
The cat might become harmful during pregnancy, but just in specific conditions. Read below to find out how to keep the cat near you without risking being infected with toxoplasmosis!
Table of Contents
- 1 Pregnant Women and Cats: How Common Is Toxoplasmosis?
- 2 Which Are the Risks?
- 3 Toxoplasmosis in the First & Second Trimester
- 4 Toxoplasmosis in the Third Trimester
- 5 How to Guard Yourself against Toxoplasmosis from the Cat?
- 6 Diagnosis & Treatment of Toxoplasmosis
- 7 Inhaling Cat Hair
- 8 What Happens If You Get Scratched or Bitten by the Cat?
Pregnant Women and Cats: How Common Is Toxoplasmosis?
The main reason for which you should stay away from cats while pregnant is the fact that the cat`s faeces, as well as the sand where the cat does its needs may transmit an infection by a parasite known as toxoplasmosis.
You`ve maybe already heard that cats might be carried of a parasite known as toxoplasma gondii, which can be transmitted to humans. Fortunately, it isn`t that easy to get sick with toxoplasmosis.
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Cats, just like humans, can get toxoplasmosis only once, after which they`ll be immune and they won`t be able to transmit the illness. Cats can get the disease only if they consumed raw meat or mice that carry this parasite. After around 10 days from incubation, cats are infected and the parasite eggs will be deposited on the faeces and will be eliminated this way. There`s a risk of becoming infected if:
- Your cat gets this infection for the first during your pregnancy;
- If you aren`t immune to the infection;
- If you clean the litter using your hand and then you don`t wash thoroughly;
- If it`s washed 4 – 5 days after being used; after this period of time, the parasites can become harmful.
Which Are the Risks?
Infection with toxoplasmosis has very severe negative effects, especially on the baby. These side effects vary depending on the stage of pregnancy in which the illness was contacted.
Toxoplasmosis in the First & Second Trimester
In the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy, the degree of infection is lower, but the fetal negative effects are a lot more harmful. In other words, there`re less chances to get with this illness, but if it should happen, your baby may suffer severe congenital abnormalities.
- Premature birth;
- Brain calcification;
- Mental retardation;
- Retinal defects;
- Small birth weight.
Toxoplasmosis in the Third Trimester
In the last pregnancy trimester, you are more likely to get this medical condition, but the fetal effects are a lot less serious because he is more developed. In general, babies infects at this point during pregnancy don`t show any symptoms at birth.
How to Guard Yourself against Toxoplasmosis from the Cat?
Women can choose to vaccinate against this illness before they choose to conceive and, therefore they`ll have immunity against the disease and the baby is safe.
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If they don`t manage to do this before becoming pregnant, then pregnant women should respect a few very strict rules that should keep them away from this infection, which is extremely dangerous for the baby. The cat`s litter, the sand where the cat does its needs (implicitly the faeces) are the ones that they should stay away from.
- You should avoid at all costs any direct contact with the cat`s faeces;
- Put someone else to change the sand and clean the cat`s place;
- If you don`t have someone who can change the cat`s litter, then you should use a facial mask and gloves;
- It`s recommended to change and clean the sand on a daily basis. Although you may be tempted to wait and let someone else change the sand, the more you postpone it, the more time you leave the parasite to makes its appearance and become infectious. The eggs of toxoplasmosis aren`t infectious during the first 1 to 5 days.
- Be careful with your garden as well, if you have a house with a yard. Don`t try to take care of the garden without using gloves. Cats can do their needs there without you knowing and you may get infected.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Toxoplasmosis
When pregnant women suspected of toxoplasmosis infection are concerned, it`s performed a test that will determine the period during which she got infected.
If the infection is detected in good time, it could be treated with success without any risk of congenital abnormalities occurring to the baby. – Click here!
This antibiotic is spiramycin which acts on the placenta (the infection reaching to the fetus through the placenta).
Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy can be treated using antibiotics prescribed by the doctor who supervises the woman`s pregnancy. Spiramycin is the most common antibiotic in the treatment for this infection when pregnant women are concerned. It works straight at the placenta, where there`s a risk that toxoplasmosis will reach the baby.
Inhaling Cat Hair
In general, cat`s hair is dangerous for people who are allergic, meaning they cannot even keep the animal around. Also, cat`s hair can be harmful for people who suffer of asthma.
Although cat`s hair is considered to be difficult to be inhaled by people (because the fibers of cat hair are thick, and can be sensed first on the tongue and then it can become discomforting), if it should happen for it to penetrate the inner airways, it may create some medical complications and reactions like fever, chronic cough or the development of granuloma foreign body. – More details!
If it should happen for cat hair to be swallowed and not reach the lungs, it will most likely be eliminated through faeces.
What Happens If You Get Scratched or Bitten by the Cat?
There`s a bacterium known as bartonella henselae that hides in the cat`s saliva that only affects people who have a weak immunity, but is harmless to all the other people. After the cat`s scratching or biting, this particular bacterium may get into your organism, causing inflammations as well as a wound which generally heals in 3 to 10 days. There are some complications that may occur, such as febrile episodes and swelling of the lymph nodes. In this situation, a treatment using aspirin, ibuprofen or antibiotics might be needed, drugs which may not be allowed during pregnancy. For this you should consult the doctor who monitors your pregnancy. Fortunately, such wounds are frequently healing on their own.