Toxoplasma Gondii Symptoms in Dogs and its Treatment
When it comes to our pet pooches, they are constantly rolling around causing havoc and coming into contact with miscellaneous creatures such as toxoplasma gondii.
However, while your dog might be loving and welcoming, toxoplasma gondii is not. So, if you believe your pup has come into contact with some unwanted friends, it’s time to head straight to the vets for toxoplasma gondii treatment.
Here at Hiputee we love our dogs, and we want to share as much information as we can in order to help your pup thrive. So, we’ve put together a quick fact-file of questions and answers about toxoplasma gondii and its effects on your furry household friend.
What is Toxoplasma Gondii?
Toxoplasma gondii is a small one-cell parasite and is often referred to as T. gondii due to its mouthful of a name.
However, the important information is about the effects of this parasite when it comes into contact with your dog (or, more accurately, your puppy). It can cause a disease called toxoplasmosis.
While the parasite will normally live and thrive within the body of a cat, it will also latch onto other warm-blooded mammals like us humans and our dogs. The issue arises when toxoplasma gondii is contracted by a person or dog with a lowered immune system such as: puppies and babies, the elderly or pregnant mums and dogs.
Yet, when it is within a foreign body that is not a cat, the parasite cannot reach full maturity.
Is Toxoplasmosis Common in Dogs and How Can They Contract the Parasite?
The infection of toxoplasmosis is not very common in dogs but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something you should be vigilant about. A healthy dog will harbour the parasite and pass it through faeces so the infection will not occur, but a dog with a compromised immune system will show symptoms and become unwell.
Our pooches have a passion to nose through the ground and sometimes even ingesting the faeces of other animals. And, in the case of rummaging through the faeces of an infected cat while at the park, they will contract the active parasite.
Other less common ways for our pups to get toxoplasmosis include:
- Eating Contaminated Meat
- Eating Uncooked Shellfish
- Drinking Contaminated Water
- Ingesting Contaminated Soil
- Eating Unwashed Home-Grown Fruits or Vegetables
For more information about your furry friend, also read about Do Dogs Recognise By Sight Or Smell
What are Toxoplasma Gondii Symptoms of Infection?
If you believe your dog may have come into contact with toxoplasma gondii, then you need to look out for a mixture of very prevalent symptoms.
As we’ve already touched on, the immune system of a healthy dog can take-on this unwanted parasite all by itself so might not show any symptoms apart from being a little more tired than usual while their bodies fight against it.
But, puppies, old dogs and pooches with weak immune systems may display some of the following toxoplasma gondii symptoms:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Muscle Weakness
- Decreased Appetite
- Inflamed Eyes
- Weight Loss
- Neurological Issues
Are There Treatment Options for a Dog Infected with Toxoplasma Gondii?
Toxoplasma gondii treatment is something that can be carefully devised by your vet in accordance with the age of your dog and the symptoms they are showing.
When you head to the vet, it’s highly likely (due to the severity of toxoplasmosis) your dog will be placed on a drip to regain vital fluids that combat dehydration as well as some anti-convulsive fluids to prevent reoccurring seizures and tremors.
Then, it’s important the toxoplasma gondii symptoms are correctly checked by the vet to ensure this is the ailment instead of any other myriad of issues it could be. To do this, your vet will likely obtain a sample of bloods, take a urinalysis, do spinal taps, and other serological tests that look for specific antigens of the parasite.
After this, your dog will be given a controlled dosage of antibiotics to help fight the infection of the toxoplasma gondii parasite. It’s vital the correct dosage is taken at the right times with no breaks otherwise the toxoplasma gondii treatment will need to start again.
What are The Preventative Measures Used Against Toxoplasmosis?
When it comes down to the preventative methods for toxoplasmosis, it can all be accredited to the care we take with food and hygiene.
For example: when toxoplasma gondii is present through cysts in raw meat, it needs to be heated to at least 67°C and a way this can be ensured is by using a meat thermometer.
Likewise, as cat faeces is the most likely of sources for the parasite, it can be best to train housecats to use the bathroom outside rather than in a litter tray inside the home.
Other ways to prevent your pup needing a visit to the vet followed by a toxoplasma gondii treatment plan include: wearing gloves when gardening, thoroughly washing hands with soap and water, effectively freezing foods to -13°C, only using dry canned food for your dog and thoroughly cleaning any home grown fruits and vegetables.