Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pregnant Woman Shouldn't Clean Kitty Litter

My daughter and her family have a cat, she is also pregnant with my third grandchild. Her husband is cleaning the kitty litter box and for good reason.

Pregnant women need to be aware that toxoplasmosis can cause problems with pregnancy, including abortion. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is carried by cats and is passed in their feces (stool). Our immune systems typically protect us from harm caused by toxoplasma, but this is not the case for a developing fetus. If a woman contracts toxoplasma while pregnant, the parasite can reach her developing baby. The baby's immune system is not able to defend against the parasite, and damage to the eyes, brain or even a miscarriage may occur.

Preventive measures will reduce the risk of toxoplasma infection.
1. If you own a cat, have a non-pregnant person change the litter box. If there is no one else to change the litter box, wear gloves and wash hands with soap and running water after changing the litter.
2. Change the litter every day. The risk of infection is reduced.
3. Keep cats indoors.
4. Don't feed your cat raw or undercooked meat.
5. Avoid adopting or handling stray cats.
6. Do not bring a new cat into your house that might have been an outdoor cat
or might have been fed raw meat.
7. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and working in the garden.