Simple D.Immitis Test Key To Early Heartworm Diagnosis

Simple D.Immitis Test Key To Early Heartworm Diagnosis

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a seriously debilitating disease of dogs throughout southern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. Though not yet established in the UK, climate changes and the presence of mosquitoes capable of transmitting the parasite highlights the benefits a simple and reliable D.immitis diagnostic test with real-world practicality.

What Is Dog Heartworm?

Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a thread-like parasitic worm that infects the heart, lungs and blood vessels of wild and domestic dog species as well as ferrets, bears, seals, sea lions and, more rarely, cats and humans.  Heartworms form a congestive mass in the heart of an infected animal severely restricted the circulation of blood through the lungs and around the body.

Dogs suffering from heartworm infestation can show symptoms including weight loss or anorexia, a soft but persistent cough, lethargy or a reluctance to exercise, rapid or difficult breathing, decreased appetite, swelling around the chest or abdomen and – in the worst cases – sudden collapse and even death.

Changing-up: The Risk of Heartworm In The UK

Heartworm is a ‘vector-borne’ parasite transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Immature D.immitis larvae are injected, by mosquito bite, into the bloodstream of a domestic or wild population dog. With hundreds of others, they grow into adult heartworm forming a tangled, congestive mass in the dog’s blood vessels, organs and heart. Mating, they produce more larvae which are taken up by a feeding mosquito to continue the cycle of infection.

Vector-borne diseases require a ‘perfect triangle’ of hosts, vectors and a transmissible parasite. The UK already has a population of dog hosts and the mosquitoes capable of carrying the infective larvae, though a cool climate keeps the mosquito population low. Increased foreign travel under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), together with illegal dog imports heightens the risk of dogs arriving in the UK with a D.immitis infection. Climate change is likely to increase the numbers, lifespan and spread of the home mosquito population.

Early Detection of Heartworm Is The Key To The Cure

Dogs suffering from heartworm can be treated with a combined regime of medication and rest. Some degree of preventative treatment may also be available for dogs travelling to areas where D.immitis infection is more common. Your veterinary surgeon will be able to advise on the best course of action for you and your dog.

Where infection by, or exposure to, heartworm-carrying mosquitoes is suspected an immediate visit to your vet is essential. Vets and veterinary laboratories are equipped to carry out a range of procedures, including X-ray, ultrasound, ECG and highly specific veterinary diagnostic tests to detect clinical and early-stage signs of heartworm infection.

FASTest Heartworm Ag is a simple, 15-minute test for detecting specific Dirofilaria immitis markers (antigens) in whole blood, plasma or serum from dogs thought to have been exposed to infected mosquitoes. Test data shows the clear, colour-change test to be 98.6 % sensitive and 99.1% specific. Storage at room temperature (15-25° C) and long shelf life makes the all-in-one test kit a practical and economical veterinary field and laboratory diagnostic test.

Visit our website to see our full range of Veterinary Products www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or contact us on 01798 874567.

You Say Leishmaniosis, I Say Leishmaniasis…

You Say Leishmaniosis, I Say Leishmaniasis…

Diagnosis and Testing

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they do have subtlety different meanings in medical and veterinary terminology. Whichever term you choose, global travel and climate change is likely to increase the demand for Leishmania diagnostic testing.

Canine Hosted Parasite With the Zoonotic Risk to Humans

Leishmaniasis usually refers to the abnormal conditions or characteristics caused by infection with the Leishmania infantum protozoan in humans. Leishmaniosis, on the other hand, is more often used to describe the disease process caused by the presence of this intracellular parasite in its primary host, the dog. However, in general use, the terms seem interchangeable.

Named to honour Scottish pathologist and Director of Army Medical Services, William Boog Leishman, the parasite is spread principally through bites from species of blood-sucking Phlebotominae mosquitoes generally known as sandflies. According to Leishvet.org, dogs and cats infected with Leismania.spp can exhibit a range of symptoms affecting their digestive, cutaneous, ocular, circulatory and nervous systems.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes and Skin Lesions May Aid Diagnosis

Most dogs carrying the parasite show no clinical symptoms and may live for many years before becoming obviously sick. As the clinical disease is almost always fatal, accurate and rapid diagnosis of leishmaniosis in dogs is critical whenever an infection is suspected.

Knowledge of an animal’s travel history can be a key factor in helping vets to diagnose a suspected case of leishmaniosis. Dogs showing enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenomegaly) and skin lesions, with a history of travel to the Mediterranean or Africa and South America, may be prime candidates for diagnostic testing for Leishmania.

Vaccination, Insecticides and Fly Repellent Collars

Preventing infection in the first place is always the best course of action. Protective collars, repellent to fleas and ticks as well as sandflies, reduce the chance of the dog being bitten by the disease’s insect vector. Insecticides too, applied to areas of bare skin, protect those parts of a dog most vulnerable to sandfly predation.

Although there is currently no vaccine against the risk of Leishmania infection, a vaccine to strengthen the Leishmania immune response has been licensed for use in dogs since 2011. Owners of dogs intending to travel with their animals into Leishmania.spp endemic areas would be advised to consult their vets well in advance of their journey.

Rapid, Reliable Diagnostic Testing for L.infantum Antigens

Because of the disease’s long asymptomatic period, it is recommended that well-travelled pets should be tested for pre-existing infection, especially before any vaccine is administered or further travel considered. FASTest Leish is the long shelf-life, simple colour-change test giving clear-cut antibody mediated results in 15 minutes.

Visit our website to see our full range of Veterinary Products www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or contact us on 01798 874567.

StreetVet Homeless Pets Charity

StreetVet Homeless Pets Charity

Officially Registered

Registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and now an officially listed Registered Charity, StreetVet provides a comprehensive ‘out on the streets’ veterinary diagnostics, treatment, welfare and owner education service for the pets of Britain’s homeless.

StreetVet: How It All Began

StreetVet began with just two vets out on the streets of London back in 2016. Armed with only what veterinary supplies and equipment could be fitted into a backpack, ‎Jade Statt and Sam Joseph set out to honour the bond of loyalty they had witnessed between one homeless man and his dog.

Back then, Gary Spall, with his staffie-cross Lola, was among the homeless still to be found on the streets around Covent Garden, London. Lola, a rescue dog from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home shared every moment of Gary’s street life, building a mutual bond of loyalty and dependence. Gary attributed his survival through the worst of times to Lola, telling news reporters: “I don’t know what I’d do without her… It’d break me if I ever lost her.”

Homeless Pets: A Reason to Keep On Keeping On

As with Gary, a pet on the streets provides more than simply companionship for many homeless. A dog or, less usually, a cat or other animal provides a focus for living and a reason just to keep on going. Unfortunately, loved as they are, street pets can find themselves excluded from the professional veterinary healthcare, diagnosis and treatment expected for homed pets. A particular worry for the homeless is who will look after their pet if and when a stay in hospital becomes unavoidable.

StreetVet, now with 300 volunteers on its books, and supported by animal charity Blue Cross, also links homeless pet owners into the charity StreetKitchen with support for their owners too. Owner education is one of the key service points that StreetVet offers, giving owners the vital information they need to understand the particular health risks to pets of a life on the streets.

Continuing Care: Vaccinations and Follow-ups

Emergency care, veterinary diagnosis and treatment is only part of the animal charity’s work with Britain’s homeless pets. Just as with any pet and owner fortunate enough to a have a roof over their heads, regular health checks, vaccinations and follow-up appointments are all part of assuring a pet’s continuing well being even after the crisis has passed.

Now an officially registered charity, StreetVet operates in Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Plymouth, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Southampton as well as in London and Cornwall. In their first year and a half, over 200 street dogs were vaccinated, microchipped (now a legal requirement), treated for fleas and medicated against parasites such as lungworm. Other pets were prescribed pain relief and some even received surgery.

Veterinary and Public Support: Vital for Pet Charities

As with all charities helping people or pets, StreetVet and Blue Cross are dependent on the generosity of the public, veterinary professionals and specialists in veterinary supplies and equipment. Vetlab supplies helps support animal charities through preferential relationships in the supply of veterinary laboratory equipment, laboratory consumables and diagnostic test kits.

Contact us about our Charity Discounts! Telephone: 01798 874567 and we will be delighted to help you.

Giardiasis Symptoms Explained

Giardiasis Symptoms Explained

Diagnosis Needs This Test

New research reveals how the Giardia parasite causes intestinal tissue damage that allows other pathogens to flourish. However, the symptoms of giardiasis in animals (and humans) are not necessarily confirmatory. For vets, monoclonal antibody-mediated diagnostic Giardia test kits provide rapid, accurate detection both the active disease (trophozoite) and the carrier state (cyst).

The Giardia Parasite is One of Animal Health’s Oldest Enemies

The flagellated protozoan responsible for giardiasis is among the first microorganisms to be visually recognised by early day microbiologists. The motile, trophozoite, form of the Giardia parasite was first observed in 1681 by pioneer microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek from stools of his own diarrhoea.

Named in 1882 to honour of Professor Alfred Mathieu Giard, the genus includes G.lamblia (also known as G.intestinalis and G.duodenalis) infecting humans and other mammals, together with G.ardeae and G.psittaci specific to birds, G.agilis to amphibians, and G.microti to voles.

Giardia Poses a Zoonotic Infection Risk to Human Health

Giardia parasites represent a zoonotic risk, meaning that the infection can spread from animals to humans. In May 2018, Public Health England reported increasing Giardia infection in England and Wales from just over 3,600 cases in 2013 to almost 4,500 thousand in 2016.

The report largely attributed the rise in observed infection rates to the increased use of immunological diagnostic methods. The effectiveness of such methodology underlines the case for the specific monoclonal antibody-based techniques of Giardia.spp diagnostic testing.

Symptoms Alone May Not Be Diagnostic of Giardiasis

In January 2018, researchers at the University of East Anglia uncovered the pathology underlying the symptoms of Giardiasis. Published in the journal Gigascience, UEA scientists describe how the active parasite produces ‘copy-cat’ human Tenascin proteins.

Tenascins balance the need for cells to stick together or break apart during tissue repair and wound healing. Excess Tenascins, due to Giardia infection, upset this balance causing the cells that line the intestine to break apart and release nutrients, which other gut bacteria exploit as food.

The waste and toxins produced by these other organisms cause symptoms including diarrhoea, flatulence, light stools, abdominal pain, nausea and dehydration; symptoms in common with other mammalian diseases and infections.

Giardia Diagnostic Testing Relies on Monoclonal Antibodies

Spread through faeces contaminated water, and a particular danger to young, infirm and immunologically challenged animals, diagnosing Giardiasis requires accurate diagnostic testing as well as expert recognition of symptoms.

FASTest Giardia Strip is instantly ready for use and stores at room temperature for up to 18 months. Precise and specific monoclonal antibodies detect both the trophozoite and cyst antigen to provide a clear-cut diagnosis in minutes through a simple 2-step process.

For further information about the FASTest Giardia Veterinary Kit: Contact Vetlab Supplies on 01798 874567 or visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk

UriStain Urine Sediment Staining

UriStain Urine Sediment Staining

Aids Diagnosis of Kidney Disease

Sediment in centrifuged animal urine samples generally indicates some sort of renal malfunction. UriStain™ urine sediment staining and microscopic examination provide a convenient method for identifying cellular and non-cellular sedimentary components and contributing to a timely, accurate diagnosis.

Clouded Urine Is Obvious, But The Cause Might Be More Obscure

Healthy kidneys generally produce clear, cloudless urine with little or no insoluble matter. Urine with a murky appearance, caused by suspended solid material, could indicate kidney malfunction potentially leading to complete renal failure.

Kidney failure may already be suspected based on other observed symptoms or reports of incidents such as injury or poisoning. Abnormally opaque or coloured urine samples can provide veterinary laboratories with a diagnostic opportunity without the need for invasive tissue sampling biopsy.

Centrifugation, Staining And Microscopic Examination Of Urine Sediment

Centrifugation of a urine sample in a veterinary centrifuge will cause any solid matter to concentrate at the bottom of the sample tube. Microscopic examination of the re-suspended precipitate may assist in identifying the type and source of any solid material.

Unambiguous visualisation and differentiation of the sedimentary components are essential to the rapid and accurate diagnosis of the cause of any renal problem. Hardy Diagnostics UriStain from Vetlab Supplies is formulated to enable veterinary laboratories to categorise the most likely solid materials responsible for clouding in animal urine samples.

Clear Differential Staining Of Cellular And Non-cellular Components

Colour responsive UriStain™ assists the veterinary microscopist in distinguishing between living cellular material, and non-viable cells, cellular fragments and other non-soluble material. Parallel examination of an unstained microscopic preparation helps identify sedimentary components based on their unstained as well as on their stained morphology.

Red blood cells, in suspensions of urinary sediment, will stain faintly pink, while the nuclei of white cells and other epithelial cells appear a deep purple colour. Yeast cells, recognisable by their morphology, also appear purple as do dead bacteria. Fungal mycelia and spores show a lighter purple. The parasitic protozoan, Trichomonas, stains light blue but might also appear colourless.

Fat droplets, with their characteristic ‘honeycomb’ appearance, remain unstained. Together with their morphology, hyaline casts – a mucoprotein potentially indicative of glomerulonephritis, and other granular material, can also be characterised by their response to UriStain visualisation.

Ready To Use And No Filtration Required

Composed of certified source dyes, the UriStain balance of Ammonium Oxalate, Safranin and Crystal Violet provides veterinary laboratories with a stable, convenient and practical staining protocol based on a reformulation of the Sternheimer-Malbin urine sediment procedure.

Ready to use, the UriStain™ reagent is supplied in convenient 15ml dropper bottles and requires no filtration prior to adding to the centrifuged urinary sediment. Veterinary microscopes equipped with low power magnification (100X) and high power magnifications (400X) enable the stained components to be precisely identified and quickly cell-counted if required. This product is directly comparable to Sedi-Stain, if not better!

For further information visit our website or Tel: 01798 874567 and we will be delighted to help.

 

 

VetCompass Companion Animal Surveillance

VetCompass Companion Animal Surveillance

Where Vets Go When They Need to Know

Evidence-based veterinary testing, diagnosis and treatment depends on the ready availability of reliable information and statistical data. VetCompass, operated and maintained by the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is claimed as the world’s largest merged database of veterinary clinical records.

Risk Factors and Demographics in Companion Animal Disorders

The title VetCompass comes from a contraction of ‘Companion Animal Surveillance System’ a not-for-profit collaboration between the RVC and the University of Sydney. This international initiative aims to collate information and data on the range and frequency of domestic pet health issues. Analysis of the collected data provides veterinary professionals with the tools they need to identify important trends, risk factors and demographics in companion animal disorders.

VetCompass collects clinical and veterinary laboratory data from vets and vet labs in general practice on a day to day basis. The pooled data from a wide range of sources is then merged into an accessible single database making available the vast amount of data that would otherwise remain hidden away in thousands of unconnected local practice records.

Information from Almost 6 Million Animals

VetCompass began as pilot project collating data on the antibiotic and glucocorticoid treatments dispensed to pet animals in a small number of UK veterinary practices. From 2009, the initiative grew to include information from almost 6 million animals. Collaboration with the University of Sydney began in 2013 as ‘VetCompass Australia’. A targeted project, ‘VetCompass Equine’, designed to gather data on ailments and health risks to horses was launched in 2016.

The VetCompass approach to surveillance and data gathering has been applied to diseases ranging through epilepsy, cancer, skin disease, endocrinopathies and heart disease. As well as collating information on the disease, the project also gathers demographic facts and figures on such generalities as longevity and mortality, the occurrence of parasitism on pets and the frequency of accidents in dogs and cats.

Improved Road Safety Awareness

A recent VetCompass survey reported that although only 0.41% of dogs presented at UK vets were victims of road traffic collisions (RTC), almost 25% of those dogs subsequently died or required euthanasia. One demonstration of the benefit of such a large data set is the amount of detail it contains. The survey showed that male dogs were 40% more likely than females to suffer an RTC. Animals aged three years or less were almost 3 times more susceptible to RTC that dogs of 14 years or more. The authors hope that these facts will inform and encourage improved road safety awareness and better streetwise management of dog owners.

Visit our website to see our full range of Veterinary Products, www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or contact us on 01798 874567.

Ticking Off

Ticking Off

Still The Best Protection Against ‘Tracker Dog Disease’ Ehrlichiosis

Environmental change is exposing Britain’s dogs to more and more diseases once confined to warmer Mediterranean and tropical climes. Diseases spread by ‘vectors’ including fleas, mites and ticks pose a special risk. One such disease, Canine Ehrlichiosis, is of growing concern to UK vets and dog owners.

Tracker Dog Disease

Called ‘tracker dog disease’ and tropical pancytopenia in the US, due to its infection of military dogs serving in Vietnam, Canine Ehrlichiosis is also known as canine rickettsiosis or canine haemorrhagic fever. The infection spreads from dog to dog in the saliva of bites from the nymphs of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus.

Acute symptoms of the disease include; fever, anorexia, depression, with longer-term chronic symptoms such as anaemia, weight loss, depression, petechiae, pale mucous membranes and oedema. In the most severe cases, infected dogs may die from massive haemorrhaging, severe debilitation or secondary infections. Some infected dogs show no clinical signs and remain as carriers for many years, but may suddenly develop chronic symptoms.

What Causes the Symptoms?

Canine Ehrlichiosis symptoms may be caused by infection with one of a number of Ehrlichia spp. pathogens including Ehrlichia canis. E. canis is widespread in the warmer parts of many countries including France, Greece, Spain and Italy. In 2013 a Tibetan Terrier in London with no history of foreign travel outside of the UK, or known contact with travelled dogs, was diagnosed with E.canis.

The pathogenic agent of Ehrlichiosis is an intracellular Gram-negative bacteria that penetrates and destroys white blood cells. Ehrlichia bacteria are similar to other pathogenic invaders including Rickettsiacea and Anaplasma spp.

In the last few decades, interest in Ehrlichioses has spread beyond the veterinary profession. In 1986, the first diagnosis of the condition in a human patient indicated Ehrlichia’s zoonotic potential and risk to human health.

MegaCor FASTest Ehrlichia canis is a is a rapid immunochromatographic screening test for antibodies produced in response to Ehrlichia canis infection. As with other kits in the FASTest veterinary diagnostic range, the all-in-one test kit is simple to use, responds positively with a quick, clear-cut colour-change with a shelf life of up to 24 months even at room temperature storage.

Warm Weather and Parasite Activity

Although there are no current vaccines against Ehrlichia infections, most dogs recover from the acute and subclinical phases. With the approach of warmer weather and increasing parasite activity, preventing canine ehrlichiosis, and other tick-borne diseases including Lymes disease and Borrelia burgdorferi, will best be achieved by avoiding exposure to the tick vector. Your vet will be able to advise on the most suitable tick preventative measures for your dog and lifestyle.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Cat Watch UK

Cat Watch UK

Coming Soon to Britain’s Streets

Without diagnostic monitoring and management, feral populations place homed cats at risk of infection with FIV and FeLV, infestation with external parasites such as fleas and mites, and internal invaders including bacteria, viruses and intestinal or respiratory worms.

Understanding the Risk that Feral Felines Pose to Britain’s Pet Cats

Cat welfare charity, Cats Protection, is promoting the UK’s first major census of Britain’s stray and feral cat population. Cat Watch isn’t just a counting exercise; it’s a serious attempt to monitor the health of an estimated 1 million homeless and abandoned cats living on Britain’s city streets. The shared social nature of homed pet and homeless strays makes total separation of the parallel populations practically impossible, underlining the need to know and understand the risk that feral felines pose to Britain’s 7 million pet cats.

The Cat Watch project, tested on the streets of Nottingham, Bradford, Luton, and the Everton district of Liverpool, and supported a wide spectrum of organisations including the Liverpool University Veterinary Practice, will give a clearer view of UK feral cat health and include a neutering and welfare programme.

Uncontrolled Breeding and Abandonment of Homed Cats

Cities such as Rome, Paris and Liege are famous for their more or less successful attempts to manage the health and numbers of their feral cats. The 2010 Liege project provided important data on the risk of pet cats to strays infected with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), while an earlier trap-neuter-release project in Rome was undermined by the uncontrolled breeding and abandonment of homed cats.

Veterinary diagnostic testing kits for such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Rotavirus, Chlamydiosis as well as a combined diagnostic for FIV/FeLV provide the early detection essential to effective treatment and containment of disease in managed cat environments such as breeding centres and catteries. Veterinary laboratory tests also provide detection systems for external parasites including. The same tests provide an efficient resource for monitoring the health of feral and stray populations.

Three in Five Owned Cats are now Microchipped

Pet animal welfare charity BlueCross advises that most apparently stray cats do in fact have a home. Before any cat wandering into your home or garden is treated as a genuine stray, BlueCross suggest a few simple actions toward uniting the wanderer with their true owner. Talking to neighbours is a good start. Posters, press ads and local social ads will also spread the message. Attaching a paper collar to the cat with your contact details gives the cat’s owner an opportunity to confirm ownership. Pet charity, the PDSA, estimates that three in five owned cats are now microchipped. So a quick microchip scan at your local veterinary surgery or pet charity re-homing centre might well identify a cat’s owner, even the cat has travelled some considerable distance.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Domestic Poultry, Friends or Food?

Domestic Poultry, Friends or Food?

Chickens as Companion Animals

The chicken (Gallus gallus) we love to eat can trace its relatively short ancestry back to the Red Junglefowl of south-east Asia, with a smattering other similar junglefowl species helpfully bred into its genetic mix. The birds were first domesticated for their bright feathers, fighting prowess and watchfulness around 7000 years ago. It wasn’t until after WWII that chickens were meaty enough to compete with beef, pork and lamb became widely available on the nation’s dinner plate. Today, Farmer’s Weekly estimates that the British poultry sector contributes £3billion annually to the UK economy.

Intensively Reared for Meat and Eggs

By far the largest proportion of the UK chicken flock is intensively reared for meat and eggs. In the UK, the health and welfare of the British meat chicken flock are underpinned by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and, in particular, The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

Along with all captive flocks and herds, chickens bred for meat must be reared and housed in compliance with the Five Freedoms. These are spelt out in the Code of Recommendations for The Welfare of Livestock and summarised as: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress. Responsibility falls on the livestock keepers who are required to be trained, competent, knowledgeable and, perhaps most importantly, self-motivated.

Veterinary Guidance is Essential

The Code recognises the importance of veterinary involvement in maintaining the standards of animal welfare envisaged in the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. Veterinary guidance is essential to the formulation of effective health and welfare policy, comprehensive record keeping, and maintaining a preventative programme of vaccination and veterinary diagnostic testing, especially for avian influenza, chlamydiosis and salmonella.

For some enthusiastic chicken keepers, the domestication cycle has turned full circle, with small numbers of birds being kept for their aesthetic rather than economic value. The 2016 Pet Population Survey, carried out by The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association, estimated the UK’s pet poultry population to be around 500,000 birds – a little higher than the number of hamsters, and lower than guinea pigs or rabbits.

Companion chickens certainly enjoy a higher standard of living than commercial birds, and many are ‘rescue birds have outlived their economic usefulness. Chickens may not be the new dogs (8.5million) or cats (7.5million), but look set to become as welcome on the patio as they have been on the plate.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Why Some Mice Just Want to Be Caught

Why Some Mice Just Want to Be Caught

How Toxoplasma Makes Infection More Likely

Toxoplasmosis in cats is caused by infection with the single-celled organism Toxoplasma gondii. Manifesting itself in symptoms including anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, jaundice and difficulty breathing, infection is diagnosed by the detection of T.gondii IgG antibodies.

The Parasite That Plays Cat and Mouse

Passed from the cat in its faeces, the eggs (oocysts) of T.gondii are inadvertently ingested by a ‘secondary host’ – such as a rat or mouse, ‘hatching’ to form large numbers of cysts in the animal’s muscle and nervous tissues. To complete its life-cycle, the immature parasite must get back into the primary host. This can only happen if the hapless secondary carrier is caught and eaten by a predatory cat.

Natural selection has equipped rodents with an acute sense of smell and the behavioural response to avoid anything that smells of cat. Current research indicates that the Toxoplasma parasite actually stacks the odds of survival against its secondary host and in favour of the cat getting its dinner – and re-infection with toxoplasmosis.

T.gondii Infected Mice Lose Their Fear of Cats

Controlled tests indicate that laboratory-bred rodents infected with Toxoplasma gondii can lose their fear of cats. Tests have shown that this response isn’t simply a reduction in sensitivity to the smell of cats, the parasite is apparently modifying the rodent’s behaviour increases the likelihood of its getting found, caught and eaten.

Rather than running from its nemesis, behavioural scientists have witnessed T.gondii infected animals courting disaster by cavorting in the presence of cat urine, rather than heading for the safety of the nearest hole.

The Fine Art of Behavioural Manipulation

Research shows that there is a careful balance. Although the infected rodents show a reduced fear of weak cat-urine smells, stronger smells override their faux courage allowing their instinct for self-preservation to take over. This finding suggests the parasite itself has evolved to exert just the right level of behavioural manipulation over its unfortunate secondary host.

Diagnostic Testing Protects Unborn Kittens from Toxoplasmosis

The animal welfare issue of Toxoplasma infection in cats is magnified in cat breeding centres and catteries. T.gondii not only infects adult cats, but it can also infect unborn kittens while still in the womb. Infected kittens may be stillborn or die even before weaning; survivors may be seriously weakened, show a lack of appetite, fever, dyspnoea or jaundice.

FASTest Toxoplasma-g provides vets serving catteries and cat breeders with a reliable veterinary diagnostic test for Toxoplasma gondii. Ready for instant use, the easy to use test kit stores at room temperature and gives a clear cut immunochromatographic response in 15 minutes.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567