Toxoplasmosis, the widespread disease caused by toxoplasmas, has been found in many species of mammals and birds. It has received a good deal of attention, particularly in the sensational press, since it is communicable to people. As is not true of felines, the organism does not appear to be spread by canines, so our dogs, although capable of contracting it, do not threaten us with it. For dogs, the logical sources for ingestion are infected cat feces or poorly cooked meat, which contain parasites.
The signs displayed by dogs with toxoplasmosis are so varied they defy any but a presumptive diagnosis without laboratory help. Central nervous system signs, eye damage, lung, and gastrointestinal problems may all be due to this protozoan parasite. It can cause abortions in bitches and mortality in newborn puppies.
Laboratory tests can confirm a diagnosis but only after a series of tests have been performed. A combination of drugs is necessary for treatment, but the disease must be treated promptly before the parasite becomes overwhelming. A majority of adult humans have had and recovered from this disease.
The disease is caused by a single-celled parasite known as the Toxoplasma gondii. It is zoonotic which means that this parasite can get transmitted to human beings, especially pregnant women. The following are the ways by which your dog can get infested with the parasite.
- The parasites spread mainly through the method of transplacental transmission. The parasite grows in the placenta of pregnant dogs and as a result of this, the young pup that comes out of the womb of the infected mother often gets affected by the infestations.
- Getting in contact with the feces of the animals like birds or rodents.
- Even taking food or water that has been contaminated by the infected animals may also lead to the spread of the parasite.
- The transmission of blood from an infected animal also leads to the development of dog toxoplasmosis.
The following are the symptoms that would help you to detect the incidence of infection in your dog.
- Incidence of fever
- Heavy loss of appetite
- Depression. Depression may be accompanied by head tilt, complete or partial blindness seizures, and even death.
- Increased rate of respiration along with fever and cough.
- Eye problems like too much blinking of the eyes known as blepharospasm, squinting or being too much sensitive towards light known as photophobia, uveitis, or the incidence the inflammation of the interior of the eyes.
- Occurrence of ascites or accumulation of the fluid in the abdomen region, jaundice, hepatomegaly or enlargement of the liver, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and excessive loss of weight.
The process of diagnosis of the disease includes taking the complete blood count or the CBC, preparing a biochemistry profile, fecal examination, eye or ocular examination, and testing of the antibodies like the IgG and IgM. Other tests are also done like the antigen test or the ELISA test x-rays of the chest, CSF analysis or Cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and such.
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