Posts Tagged ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’

Unravelling The Mystery Of The Kitty Litter Parasite In Marine Mammals

June 9, 2008

Researchers at California Polytechnic State University have discovered what may be a clue to the mystery of why marine mammals around the world are succumbing to a parasite that is typically only associated with cats. The key may just be the lowly anchovy, according to research presented today at the 108th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite which causes toxoplasmosis, considered to be the third leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 20% of the U.S. population carries the parasite, the only known reservoir of the infectious form of the parasite (the oocyst) are cats.

Over the past decade, toxoplasma infection has appeared in a variety of sea mammals including beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions and seals. It has also become a major cause of death in sea otters living off the coast of California. It is estimated that approximately 17% of sea otter deaths can be attributed to toxoplasma. While many believe fresh water runoff contaminated with cat feces is to blame, there is no definitive science on the source of infection.

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Household Toxins More Dangerous to Pets Than People

April 18, 2008

Just as exposure to common household and yard chemicals affect us and our children, our pets are affected by these toxins, too. And the exposure to these toxins may produce compounded harmful effects in our cats and dogs.

Researchers for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed blood and urine samples they collected from 40 cats and 20 dogs, all household pets. They were tracking the presence of 70 industrial chemicals in the pets’ bodies. The results of their analysis is described as startling.

Of the 70 chemicals tracked, 48 of them were present in the animals. Of those 48 chemicals, 43 of them were at levels much higher than what is typically found in humans. Stain- and grease-proofing coating chemicals (perfluorochemicals) were 2.4 times higher in the dogs than in people. Fire retardants (PBDEs) were found at levels 23 times higher in cats than in people and the cats’ mercury levels were 5 times higher. The average chemical saturation in humans for this study was based on conclusions from national studies conducted by both the EWG and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jane Houlihan, vice president of research at EWG, suggests the elevated levels of common household chemicals in our pets is a glimpse into the future for ourselves and our children. She would like to see study become a “wake-up call” to establish more stringent safety standards pertaining to industrial chemicals that become a part of our homes.

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