Dr. Olatunji Nasir, the President of Commonwealth Veterinary Council of Nigeria, has alerted pregnant women who keep cats that such infected animals could cause miscarriage of their babies.
Nasir gave the warning in Ilorin in a paper presentation entitled: “Veterinarians in the Face of Global Health Security.”
The programme was organised by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
According to Nasir, cat’s faeces can carry the infection known as toxoplasmosis, only found in cats that go outdoors and hunt prey, including mice and other rodents.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that toxoplasmosis disease results from infection with the toxoplasma gondii parasite.
Toxoplasmosis results from infection with a common parasite found in cat’s faeces and contaminated food.
It could cause serious complications for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.
According to Nasir, cats play an important role in the spread of toxoplasmosis as they become infected by eating infected rodents, birds or other small animals.
He warned that cats could carry the parasite that causes birth defects, miscarriages and death in people with weakened immune systems.
“Once infected, they shed the organism in their droppings, which can infect anyone who comes into contact with them,” Nasir said.
He emphasised the need to seek professional help from the veterinary doctors to keep animal diseases away from humans.
The Doctor also warned that some diseases from pets could cause male infertility.
Nasir described veterinary doctors as crucial to the health and survival of humans, saying that novel diseases keep plaguing the existence of man.
Similarly, the medical doctor cautioned against unethical and unprofessional use of antibiotics on chickens by poultry keepers.
He warned against immediate ingestion of cooked chicken, which had just been administered with antibiotics.
According to the veterinary doctor, eating such birds are harmful to the people.
“Using antibiotics in animals may raise the risk of transmitting drug-resistant bacteria to humans, either by direct infection or by transferring resistance genes from agriculture into human pathogens,” he said.
Nasir advised the government to ensure that more veterinary doctors are employed to regulate the activities of abattoirs in the country.
According to him, some of the practices in this industry are unhygienic and unhealthy for humans.