A blood titer that is high can serve as a preliminary diagnosis of toxoplasmosis, but definitive diagnosis requires microscopic identification of the parasite. The presence of significant antibody levels in a normal cat suggests that the cat was previously infected and is probably not shedding now. The absence of a significant antibody level would suggest that the cat is susceptible to infection and could shed the parasite for 1-2 weeks if infected.
This disease can be treated with appropriate medication. A vaccine is not yet available for prevention of this disease.
Transmission to humans is usually due to consumption of uncooked meats. Of greatest concern is congenital infection. The majority of women infected during pregnancy do not have symptoms themselves. Fetal infection is most common if maternal infection occurred during the third trimester.
The following recommendations will help minimize exposure.
- cover sand boxes.
- avoid contact with potentially contaminated soil.
- clean litter boxes daily, someone in household not pregnant, preferably male.
- thoroughly cook meat.
- wash hands routinely.
The de la Houssaye Animal Hospital does not advocate getting rid of your pet cat if you wish to have children. We would be very happy to discuss this disease with you if you have concerns.