What is toxoplasmosis in cats?

Toxoplasmosis in cats is a parasite infection that can be fatal to weakened or very young animals. Read here how the four-legged friends can become infected. Toxoplasmosis is particularly dangerous for kittens - Image: Shutterstock / Gray Carnation

Toxoplasmosis occurs frequently, but not only, in cats. As the main host for the parasitic pathogen, domestic tigers can become infected with the disease in various ways.

Infection with toxoplasmosis

The parasite Toxoplasma gondii can infect the cat via various intermediate hosts. Pigs, various types of birds, some wild animals and also humans can be intermediate hosts for the toxoplasmosis pathogen, for example. The parasite becomes the causative agent of the infection, for example, when it is excreted by the host with the faeces and is in the air for a few days without it. For cats, transmission can occur, for example, by eating dead birds, raw pork, or by contact with animal droppings.

When is the disease dangerous?

If the cat has been infected with toxoplasmosis, there are usually no symptoms at all, or they are very weak and fade away after a short time. Possible symptoms include diarrhea, cough or swollen lymph nodes. After the initial illness, cats usually become immune to the pathogen. It can be more dangerous for house tigers with a very weak immune system. They can develop more severe symptoms and the disease can become chronic.

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For kittens infected through their mother, the disease can unfortunately be fatal. And humans can also become infected with toxoplasmosis. While the disease is often symptom-free, it can be serious for people with a weak immune system and expectant mothers.