Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - 17

Chapter 2

Safety

17

Pregnant women should take extra precautions to prevent infection.
Toxoplasmosis can cause miscarriage, premature births, and blindness in
the unborn child. Pregnant women should avoid cleaning litter boxes. Daily
cleaning of litter boxes is important because the organism in the feces of an
infected cat becomes infective after 36 to 48 hours. Rubber disposable gloves
should be worn when cleaning the litter box, and hands should be washed
thoroughly afterward. A mask should also be worn to prevent inhalation of
airborne oocysts. Children's play areas and sandboxes should be prevented
from being used as litter boxes. See Figure 2-2.
Most humans infected with Toxoplasma organisms will not develop
symptoms, because most people carry antibodies against the disease. People
with immune system defects or those receiving immunosuppressive therapy
(therapy used to correct immune system problems) can develop symptoms,
however. Symptoms in humans include fever, headache, swollen lymph
glands, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, loss of appetite, and skin rash.
Ringworm is a skin disease caused by a fungus; it is not caused by a
parasitic worm, as the name would imply. Dogs, cats, chinchillas, guinea pigs,
rats, mice, and rabbits can be infected with ringworm and then transmit the
infection to humans. Ringworm is spread by direct contact with a person
or animal infected with the fungus. It can also be spread indirectly through
contact with articles (such as combs or clothing) or surfaces that have been
contaminated with the fungus. Symptoms of ringworm are the appearance
of round, scaly, or encrusted lesions on the skin; hair is usually absent from
these areas. The ringworm is infectious as long as the fungus remains present
in the skin lesion. The fungus is no longer present when the lesion starts to
shrink. Animals with rashes should be evaluated by a veterinarian. If the
animal's rash is caused by a fungus, people should avoid contact with the animal until it heals. Caretakers should change clothing and wash themselves
immediately after any contact. Topical and oral antifungal drugs are used to
cure the problem in both humans and animals. See Figure 2-3.
Psittacosis (also known as ornithosis, parrot fever, and avian chlamydiosis) is caused by the bacterium Chlamydophilia psittaci. The disease can be
transmitted to humans from birds. All birds are susceptible; however, pet birds

Ā© Cengage LearningĀ®

Cats play an important role in the spread of toxoplasmosis. They
become infected by eating infected rodents, birds, or other small animals. Rodents are members of the order Rodentia; small, gnawing
mammals that have a single pair of continuously growing incisors in
both the upper and lower jaw. The parasite is then passed in the cat's
feces in an oocyst form (an immature egg), which is microscopic.
Kittens and cats can shed millions of oocysts in their feces for as
long as three weeks after infection. Mature cats are less likely to shed
Toxoplasma if they have been previously infected. A Toxoplasmainfected cat that is shedding the parasite in its feces contaminates the
litter box. If the cat is allowed outside, it can contaminate the soil or
water in the environment, as well.
A woman who is newly infected with Toxoplasma during pregnancy can pass the infection to her unborn child. The woman may not
have symptoms, but there can be severe consequences for the unborn
child, such as diseases of the nervous system and eyes.1

Toxoplasmosis is
usually spread to humans through
cat feces and cat litter or contaminated soil. Caution should be
taken when disposing of cat litter
and cleaning cat litter boxes.

Figure 2-2



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition

Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover1
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover2
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - viii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - ix
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - x
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xiii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xiv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xvi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xvii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xviii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xix
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xx
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xxi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xxii
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