Testing For Toxoplasmosis In Cats: Checking A Pet For Infection

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Testing For Toxoplasmosis In Cats: Checking A Pet For Infection
Testing For Toxoplasmosis In Cats: Checking A Pet For Infection

Video: Testing For Toxoplasmosis In Cats: Checking A Pet For Infection

Video: Testing For Toxoplasmosis In Cats: Checking A Pet For Infection
Video: Dr. Becker on Toxoplasmosis 2023, March

Many cats are carriers of such a dangerous disease as toxoplasmosis. This anthropozoonotic infection is caused by parasitic Toxoplasma larvae. Animals become infected by eating infected mice, lamb, pork, after which they become carriers and sources of toxoplasmosis. Cats shed the infection along with the feces outside, in contact with which, you can easily pick up the disease. Consider how to test a cat for toxoplasmosis.


  • 1 Development of the causative agent of toxoplasmosis in the feline body
  • 2 Risk groups
  • 3 Clinical manifestations of toxoplasmosis in cats
  • 4 Diagnostic measures for suspected toxoplasmosis in cats
  • 5 How is toxoplasmosis treated in animals

Development of the causative agent of toxoplasmosis in the feline body

The disease in the cat's body progresses gradually. Toxoplasma larvae spend most of their life in the small intestine, where they develop and reproduce. But often pathogens parasitize in the organs of hematopoiesis - spleen, liver.

At-risk groups

Most often, toxoplasmosis occurs in cats up to one year of age, as well as adult cats from 7-8 years. This is due to the fact that pets of these age categories have insufficient immunity, and the body is practically defenseless against viruses.

Cats whose owners periodically let them walk outside are most susceptible to disease - they come into contact with contaminated soil, dirty plants, catch rodents and birds. Many owners even hang collars with bells and bells on their pets to protect the cat and prevent him from hunting. It is believed that cats living in rural areas are much more susceptible to the disease than animals living in urban apartments, since they have almost unlimited access to the street.


Clinical manifestations of toxoplasmosis in cats

In contrast to the asymptomatic course of toxoplasmosis in humans, in animals this disease occurs with the following manifestations:

  • lethargy, passivity;
  • decreased appetite and weight loss;
  • vomiting and upset stools;
  • increased body temperature;
  • coughing and sneezing;
  • convulsions (with an advanced course of the disease).

Symptoms persist from two to three days to a week. With such manifestations, an urgent need to take the cat to the veterinarian. Often, pet owners confuse these symptoms with a common cold or food poisoning, since the symptoms are similar. But toxoplasmosis can also make itself felt in this way.


There are cases when infection with Toxoplasma larvae has occurred, and the clinical symptoms are erased. This is due to the strong immunity of the animal: the infection is simply suppressed, and the cat becomes a carrier of Toxoplasma, which is also dangerous for others.

There is also a chronic form of toxoplasmosis, in which the larvae parasitize in the host's body, not giving themselves away. In this case, the disease is discovered by chance, during a planned visit to a veterinary clinic and taking tests.

Toxoplasma larvae can infect the brain, and this is a very dangerous complication of the disease. The cat cannot move confidently, loses orientation in space, practically does not run, the limbs become weak. Vision may decrease dramatically.

Diagnostic measures for suspected toxoplasmosis in cats

Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in cats is based on blood and feces tests. Animal feces are examined in two ways.

  1. Microscopic - detection of toxoplasma cysts under a microscope. This method is not always reliable, and it is extremely rarely used in modern veterinary medicine for research with suspected toxoplasmosis.
  2. PCR research is a more informative diagnostic method that allows you to identify the acute course of the disease in a pet. For diagnosis, take a swab from the rectum of the animal or a small part of the feces. A positive test result indicates that the cat releases Toxoplasma larvae into the environment, that is, it can be infectious and dangerous, especially for family members. A negative PCR test result does not always mean the absence of disease. This can serve as confirmation that the cat is not dangerous to others.

A blood test for toxoplasmosis in cats shows whether there are antibodies to the pathogen. Analysis and interpretation of the result is done as follows. The required amount of blood is taken from the pet, which is examined in the laboratory by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

After such a result, two weeks later, a second enzyme immunoassay is performed: if the number of antibodies increases, then the pet is sick and needs a course of complex therapy. And if repeated ELISA showed that the amount of antibodies is reduced, this means that the treatment is being carried out successfully.

Based on the above, the following conclusions can be drawn.

  1. PCR study of feces and enzyme immunoassay are negative - the pet is healthy, and infection is excluded.
  2. The PCR test is positive, but the ELISA is negative - there is an active phase of toxoplasmosis, the cat excretes the pathogen in the feces and infects the environment, but the chronic form of the disease is still excluded.
  3. Positive PCR study and ELISA - the pet is sick and requires the appointment of the necessary therapy. After the end of the course of treatment, blood and feces are tested again.
  4. Negative PCR study, but positive ELISA - the pet is sick with a chronic form of the disease. Re-examination of blood and feces is shown after 14 days. If the antibody titer rises, then therapy is needed.

How is toxoplasmosis treated in animals?

Therapy of this disease is aimed at destroying actively developing and multiplying parasites. Unfortunately, the preparations have practically no effect on oocysts, since they are protected by a hard shell. Often, even after careful and step-by-step treatment, the disease is not completely cured, but becomes chronic.


The most commonly used drugs include:

  • Fansidar;
  • Daraprim;
  • Clindamycin.

Often, experts prescribe symptomatic therapy, which slightly alleviates the course of the disease and softens the toxic effect of antiparasitic drugs. Symptomatic drugs include antipyretic, antiemetic, antidiarrheal and other drugs.

With this form of the disease, before the end of the course of therapy, it is advisable to limit the cat's physical activity at least within one room. It is necessary to minimize the contact of a cat with an acute form of toxoplasmosis with children, especially small ones.

If toxoplasmosis has acquired a chronic form, this does not mean that you can give up on treatment. The pet requires constant monitoring and nutrition containing all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Your cat's immunity needs to be constantly maintained


If there is a pregnant woman or a married couple planning a child in the house, then you should part with the pet for a while - for example, give it to relatives or friends. Toxoplasmosis disease of a pregnant woman is fraught with serious consequences that will affect the health of the fetus. You cannot take risks, no matter how attached you are to a fluffy household.

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