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Brief Summary

Toxocara cati is a common nematode (roundworm) parasite of domestic cats. Although Toxocara canis is the most common cause of the human parasitic disease known as toxocariasis (including the clinical syndromes of ocular larva migrans [OLM] and visceral larva migrans [OLM]), the importance of T. cati in human disease may have been underestimated to date (Fisher 2003). Although T. canis infections in dogs are often acquired by puppies transplacentally, this is not so for T. cati in kittens. Both dogs and cats can acquire their respective nematode parasites at any age by ingesting eggs or paratenic hosts. The most widely recognized source of infection by Toxocara in humans is ingestion of contaminated soil, often by toddlers, but infection is also possible via the consumption of partial or whole paratenic hosts ("transport hosts"), such as earthworms or raw livers of domestic animals (chickens, ducks, cows, and pigs). Uncooked vegetables have also been reported as a possible source of infection, especially those from farms that utilize animal or human excrement as fertilizer. One additional possible source of infection reported is contact with embryonated eggs on a dog’s hair coat. (Lee et al. 2010 and references therein)


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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team

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