Toxoplasmosis in dogs – Symptoms and contagion
When we adopt a dog we soon find that the bond between a pet and its owner is very strong and special and we soon realize that the dog has become a member of our family and not just an animal pet.
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Therefore, the care of our pet acquires great importance in our day to day and we must be alert to any symptom or behavior that indicates a condition, to offer you a treatment as soon as possible.
In this article of YourCatCareguide we will tell you about toxoplasmosis in dogs , what are their symptoms to be able to identify the disease, how it is treated, how to prevent it and how it is spread.
What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a disease of an infectious nature caused by a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii .
It is not an exclusive disease of dogs as it affects a large diversity of warm-blooded animals and also humans.
When you suffer from a contagion through the extra-intestinal cycle (which is what affects all animals), toxoplasm passes from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream where it reaches the organs and tissues it affects and as a consequence suffer from a reaction inflammatory and immunological.
Contagion of toxoplasmosis in dogs
The toxoplasmosis in dogs is a condition that our dog gets through the extra-intestinal cycle and to understand the mechanism of action we should differentiate between the two breeding cycles of the parasite:
- Intestinal cycle: Occurs only in cats. The parasite reproduces in the intestinal tract of the cat, eliminating the immature eggs through the feces, these eggs mature in the environment when they have passed between 1 and 5 days.
- Extra-intestinal cycle: Contamination through this cycle occurs by ingesting the mature eggs, which pass from the intestine to the blood and are capable of infecting organs and tissues.
A dog may become infected with toxoplasmosis by contact with an infected surface, by eating the cat’s faeces or by eating raw meat contaminated with the parasite’s eggs.
Young or immunosuppressed dogs are a risk group in toxoplasmosis contagion.
Symptoms of toxoplasmosis in dogs
Acute toxoplasmosis manifests itself through various symptoms, although our pet does not have to suffer from them all.
If we observe in our dog any of the following symptoms we should immediately go to the veterinarian with him:
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination in movements
- Complete or partial paralysis
- Breathing problems
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Jaundice (yellow coloration of mucous membranes)
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Inflammation of the eyeball
Treatment of canine toxoplasmosis
Firstly, the veterinarian should confirm the diagnosis of canine toxoplasmosis by performing a blood test to measure different parameters such as serology and antibodies, defense cell counts and some liver parameters.
If the diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment will vary depending on each particular case and the animal’s basic health condition.
Intravenous fluids will be used in the case of severe dehydration and antibiotics may also be prescribed to control infection in the affected areas. The main objective of the treatment should also be to restore the dog’s immune system , especially when the dog was already debilitated before infection by toxoplasma.
In some severe cases, the dog may need a period of hospitalization.
How to prevent toxoplasmosis contagion
To avoid the contagion of toxoplasmosis in dogs , we should be simply careful and take into account the following hygienic measures:
- We should prevent our dog from ingesting raw meat as well as poor food.
- We must control all those areas in which our dog can come in contact, like the feces of a cat.
- If we have also adopted a cat in our house, we must redouble the care, periodically clean the litter box and prevent our dog from contacting her.
With regard to human contagion, we must clarify that it is not possible to infect a dog from toxoplasmosis to a human .
Between 40 and 60% of humans have already suffered from toxoplasmosis, but if the immune system works properly, symptoms do not manifest themselves, being only a dangerous disease during early pregnancy in women who do not have antibodies.
Human contagion occurs by ingestion of contaminated food and in the case of children, by possible contact with the infected feces of a cat.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest that you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles the less you may be interested in: A Toxoplasmosis in Dogs – Symptoms and Contagion , we recommend you to enter our section on Parasitic Diseases .