Prepare for unexpected vet bills

What are Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a single-celled organism, Toxoplasma gondii, capable of infecting both dog and owner alike. The infection is spread either through the feces of infected cats (as sporozoites) or undercooked meat (as tissue cysts). After consumption, the organisms invade the lining of the stomach and lower intestine, quickly spreading throughout the body. In young animals or those with compromised immune systems, this can be fatal if untreated. Older animals with good immune systems usually do not require treatment as they are able to contain the infection and often eliminate it completely. However, the infection can sometimes persist as asymptomatic “pockets” of organisms inside the animal, called bradyzoites.

Toxoplasmosis is an aggressive protozoal disease affecting humans and warm-blooded animals. Found worldwide, it is highly transmissible and can pose a danger to the health of both pet and owner.

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Toxoplasmosis Average Cost

From 14 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$700

Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Refusal of food
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Lethargy/muscle weakness
Types
  • Acute
  • Chronic
  • Fetal
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Causes of Toxoplasmosis in Dogs

If you notice your dog behaving strangely, running a fever or exhibiting tremors, schedule a veterinarian appointment immediately, especially if you suspect your dog has eaten roadkill or from the litterbox.

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Diagnosis of Toxoplasmosis in Dogs

Acute Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis may be suspected if your pet has consumed raw or undercooked meat, cat feces, or come in contact with areas contaminated by the same. Gastrointestinal or neurologic symptoms should be reported to a veterinarian regardless, but especially in the case of toxoplasmosis infection, as time may be critical to save a young or vulnerable pet’s life.

The veterinarian can diagnose toxoplasmosis by a variety of lab tests, involving samples of the blood, feces or spinal fluid. The symptoms of toxoplasmosis alone are not enough for a firm diagnosis, and so these laboratory tests are essential.

Chronic Toxoplasmosis

Animals infected with toxoplasmosis as adults may sometimes retain pockets of the infection, which can remain viable for months or years. Usually, this does not cause any symptoms nor does it pose a threat to the animal’s health, but can be of concern if the animal is in contact with at-risk animals.

Fetal Toxoplasmosis

Females infected with toxoplasmosis carry a significant risk of transmitting the infection to their young while still in the womb. Young are often stillborn or die shortly after birth. In humans, toxoplasmosis in pregnant women can cause severe birth defects or miscarriage of the fetus.

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Treatment of Toxoplasmosis in Dogs

Acute toxoplasmosis may be treated with sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine, which are helpful in suppressing active multiplication of the parasite. Clindamycin is also highly prescribed for dogs. These drugs will not usually completely clear the infection, so the animal’s own immune system should be supported to eliminate the rest. If brought in quickly after eating infected meat, a young animal can make a full recovery from the disease.

There is no treatment currently available for chronic or fetal toxoplasmosis.

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Recovery of Toxoplasmosis in Dogs

Recovery from acute toxoplasmosis may involves IV fluids or other measures to help keep your pet healthy while fighting off the infection. Generally rest and avoiding contact with other animals is best.

Prevention is the best possible method for avoiding toxoplasmosis. Keeping litterboxes inaccessible to your dog, removing waste every day, and washing homegrown produce reduce the risk of you or your dog acquiring this infection. If you must feed your dog wild game or raw food, freeze any meat for at least two days before feeding. Pregnant women should take special care not to come in contact with cat feces or meat from wild animals.

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Toxoplasmosis Average Cost

From 14 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$700

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Toxoplasmosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Pitbull

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8 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Dizziness, Loss Of Appetite And Leaking Smll Amount Of Urine

What would cause these symptoms in my dog

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. Many different problems might look like the signs that you are describing - If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Cockapoo

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Ten Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Loss Of Appetite,

My dog has been vomiting for a week now. We have been to the vet on two separate occasions. We are sure that the dog ate cat feces from the litter box a week ago. Within a day he was projectile vomiting a clearish liquid. He has not been able to keep any food down for six days. The vet has ran a barium test, CBC blood work, and x-rays. The vet says nothing has come from these tests other than an enlarged stomach. They said everything was okay and there was no blockage. We just got home again from the vet and he just vomited again. We are unsure what to do. Any help would be appreciated.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Is he on any medications? If all tests have come back normal, he would typically be put on an anti-emetic such as Cerenia or Metoclopramide. Without knowing more about his situation, it is difficult to comment, but those medications may be something that you can ask your veterinarian about, and if they would be appropriate. I hope that your dog is okay.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Toxoplasmosis Average Cost

From 14 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$700

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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