Free Press Journal

Cats can spread gastrointestinal infections


Mumbai: While the civic body is planning ways to curb cat infestation in tertiary and periphery hospitals, a recent study done by the Bombay Veterinary College and Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University, Parel, has revealed that more than 72 per cent of the cats are responsible for spreading serious gastrointestinal and neurological infections.

The study was conducted by the college after collecting faecal samples of over 72 cats which were admitted to the Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hospital in Mumbai from August 2012 to October 2012. The study revealed, “52 out of 72 samples were positive for either single or mixed parasitic ova or oocysts. The prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in cats were found to be 72.22 per cent.”

Researchers said the study was planned with the objective of determination of parasites in domestic cats, as most of them are unaware of prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites among cats.  “Gastrointestinal parasites represent major health problems for adults because of the proximity to felines and in children because they play with pets in a contaminated environment,” said Dr Shree Malkar, one
of the researchers and a  veterinary doctor.

Experts said, “Patients and their relatives from tertiary care hospitals of the city are at risk due to the presence of stray cats in the hospital.” Doctors said that though the co-relation between feline and gastrointestinal ailments is evident, this is the first of its kind study, focused on cats in Mumbai. “People who are animal lovers and mostly involved with pets are more prone to get such zoonotic diseases. It is not so severe but, yes, it can create a problem; so one should vaccinate the pet and take all safety precautions while
cleaning,” said Dr J C Khanna, Director of the veterinary hospital.

Apart from the study they also stressed on how pet-owners and feline caretakers need to constantly de-worm cats and avail of the necessary vaccinations to remain healthy, since cats are a common sight in Mumbai hospitals. Dr Deepa Katyal, a city-based veterinarian said, “While infections are subjective in humans depending on the immunity level and preexisting conditions, maintaining hygiene, litter management and frequent de-worming of cats and caretakers is extremely important in terms of prevention to avoid infections.”

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