return to home page

Val Caron Animal Hospital

3055 Highway 69 N
Val Caron, ON P3N 1R8


Pregnancy and Parasites

Pregnant women are at a higher risk for acquiring diseases transmitted from pets to humans (zoonotic diseases). It is important to speak to your human physician regarding zoonotic diseases, if you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant.

One of the most important zoonotic diseases for pregnant women is called Toxoplasmosis. It is caused by the protozoan parasite called Toxoplasa gondii. Cats are the definitive hosts. Toxoplasma gondii can be transmitted to people by accidentally coming into contact with the infectious stage in cat feces either from  touching your mouth after changing the kitty litter or after gardening. More commonly, people will become infected by consuming tissue cysts in infected meat.

Many people who acquire the infection, will exhibit non-specific and non serious symptoms. You cat may not show any clinical signs even if they are carriers of the protozoa. This disease can have a devastating effect on pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. The rapidly dividing form of Toxoplasma gondii can migrate across the placenta causing damage to the fetus including birth defects, abortion and stillborns.

There are steps that pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals can take to reduce the risk of acquiring the disease. These include:

- Do not eat undercooked meat and ensure that anything that has come into contact with raw meat has been washed thoroughly with soap and hot water.

- Do not drink raw milk (especially goats milk).

- Do not allow your cat to eat raw meat. 

- If possible, have a non-pregnant person clean the cat litter.

- Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the cat litter. 

- Clean the cat litter our at least once daily.

- Wear rubber gloves when gardening.

If these measures are taken, there is little risk in acquiring Toxoplasmosis from your pet cat. 

For more information on Toxoplasmosis, please visit CDC  anVeterinaryPartner