Can Cats Eat Raw Deer Meat?


You’ve probably heard of the dangers of feeding raw deer meat to cats, but do you know the
risks of Toxoplasmosis and Trichinosis? Read on to learn more. Is venison safe for cats? Here’s
the scoop. A cat’s diet should only consist of two or three days of venison a week. There are
several other safety precautions to consider.


Toxoplasmosis


If your cat likes to eat raw deer meat, you may need to monitor its diet to prevent toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasma gondii is a bacterial parasite that is most commonly found in cats. The disease is
spread through cat feces and by the ingested tissues of infected animals. It is possible for
humans and other warm-blooded animals to become infected with the parasite.
In a study conducted in South Carolina and Alabama in the late 1980s, researchers discovered
that three cases of toxoplasmosis in deer hunters were linked to venison. The men had recently
eaten rare venison and were experiencing fever and muscle aches. One man required
hospitalization, while the other three did not seek medical care. Tests showed that all three men
had the parasite. The symptoms of toxoplasmosis included leukopenia, fever, and abnormal liver
function tests. In two patients, chest x-rays also showed infiltrates. The men had no contact with
cats before eating the meat, but the disease was associated with the deer.
Toxoplasmosis in cats may manifest itself in a variety of symptoms. Fever, lethargy, and loss of
appetite are common. The severity of the symptoms depends on the type of infection and the
location of the parasite in the body. The infection may lead to blindness, reduced vision, and
abnormalities in the central nervous system. In some severe cases, the infection can even cause
seizures.
If you think your cat has gotten toxoplasmosis from eating raw deer meat, don’t worry. The
disease is largely self-limited and can be detected through a blood test. Although toxoplasmosis
in cats is rare, it is best to avoid feeding your cat raw deer meat while you’re pregnant. If you
can’t keep your cat indoors, you can choose an appropriate commercial diet.


Trichinosis


There are many causes of trichinosis in cats. This parasite lives in the body of wild animals and
most commonly affects cats. It can also occur in other animals, such as rodents and horses.
Cats who regularly eat raw game, such as deer, can become infected. The disease is a
potentially serious health threat, and the symptoms may be difficult to recognize.
Symptoms of trichinosis in cats may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and weakness.
Once the larvae reach the intestine, they are able to reproduce. In some cases, a veterinarian
may be able to detect the disease using blood tests. If your pet is not able to pass on the
parasites, however, contact your veterinarian immediately. Untreated trichinosis is potentially
fatal.
Symptoms of trichinosis in cats eating raw deer or other wild game vary from case to case.
Generally, symptoms begin about two to eight weeks after eating infected meat. Symptoms can
range from a mild case to a severe one, and they are directly related to the amount of infectious
worms in the meat. Symptoms of trichinosis in cats eating raw deer meat can be difficult to
identify as the symptoms of this disease are similar to those of common illnesses.
It’s important to remember that trichinosis in cats is a relatively rare occurrence in the United
States and other parts of the world. Fortunately, there are methods for prevention, including
freezing meat to prevent it from developing the parasite. Although freezing meat is often
recommended, it can’t be absolutely guaranteed to kill the parasite. The meat should also be
stored at a temperature below -5°F (20°C) for at least five days before it becomes ready to
eat.
Although it is difficult to identify the cause of trichinosis in cats that are not eating raw deer meat,
researchers have linked the two to the risk of infection with white-tailed deer. Infected deer may
harbor the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can infect cats and humans. Cats release millions
of eggs into the environment through their feces. These eggs remain infectious for 18 months.

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