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Sobering Thoughts For Cat Lovers (And Gardeners Too)

July 11, 2013

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As pet owners and parents, we all worry about diseases that our pets may be helping to spread.  Now NBC News is reporting
an under-recognized public health hazard lurking in feline excrement, an infectious parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii.  It’s long been known that some cat feces harbor the parasite known as T. gondii, which can cause human illness.  Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems have been warned for decades to avoid cat box duty because the resulting infections can cause congenital problems and serious illness.  But recent studies have suggested — although not proven — that there may be a link between high levels of T. gondii antibodies and development of conditions including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD.

You can read the entire NBC report here:

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cat-poop-parasites-may-pose-public-health-hazard-study-suggests-6C10574506

In the meantime, Kimberly May, a veterinarian and spokeswoman for the American Veterinary Medical Association advises cat owners to empty litter boxes frequently, wash their hands and keep kids away from cat feces. The bigger risk for T. gondii comes from gardening without gloves or failing to follow those precautions.

 

As for me, I just bought a new pair of gardening gloves!

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