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Toxoplasmosis in Cats

By: Dr. Anne Marie Manning

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Related Symptoms or Diseases

  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease caused by a coronavirus that affects cats only. The symptoms of FIP may appear almost identical to those of toxoplasmosis and must be differentiated by laboratory tests and titers for each of the diseases.

  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) causes non-specific signs of illness as well as anemia (low red blood cell count). This disease can be easily differentiated from toxoplasmosis on the basis of a blood test for feline leukemia.

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes non-specific signs of illness by compromising a cat's immune system thereby making them susceptible to secondary infections. FIV can be easily distinguished from toxoplasmosis with a blood test for FIV.

  • Hemobartonellosis is a disease caused by a blood parasite that affects both dogs and cats. Infection with hemobartonella results in anemia, fever and an enlarged spleen. Haemobartonellosis is diagnosed on the basis of a blood smear where the blood parasites can be seen within the red blood cells.

  • Immune-mediated diseases such as those that attack red blood cells, joints and muscle can cause fevers, joint and muscle pain, and anemia, which may appear similar to those symptoms of toxoplasmosis. Immune mediated diseases are often diagnosed with blood tests, joint taps or muscle biopsies, depending on the nature of the pet's symptoms.

  • Cancer causes signs of illness that can mimic those of any disease including toxoplasmosis.

  • Systemic fungal infection, such as blastomycosis, histoplasmosis and cryptococcis, can produce signs of disease similar to those of toxoplasmosis, such as fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and difficulty breathing. Fungal infections are more common in certain parts of the United States, and unless you live in a certain area or your pet has traveled to those areas, your veterinarian may not pursue a fungal infection as a differential diagnosis.

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