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Study: Dangerous Cat Parasites May Be Infecting Deer

Discussion in 'Turf and Surf Hunting and Fishing' started by Quigley_Sharps, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    OutdoorHub Reporters +

    Feral cats can have a large impact on the local environment. A recent study has found that outdoor felines may be spreading a dangerous parasite to deer.

    When it comes to the host of dangers that wild deer face, few people think of feral cats. However, a study by researchers at Ohio State University found that feral cats may be responsible for the presence of a dangerous parasite in deer calledToxoplasma gondii. According to the study, which was recently published in the journal Ecohealth, the number of deer infected with the parasite coincided with the number of wild cats in their area. Researchers collected samples from over 400 whitetail deer in the Cleveland, Ohio area and found that almost 60 percent of the animals showed signs of infection. Comparatively, 200 wild cats in the region were tested for the parasite and over 65 percent of the felines were afflicted with the parasite.

    “This study documents the widespread infection of deer populations in northeastern Ohio, most likely resulting from feral cats, and highlights the need for consumers of venison to make absolutely certain that any deer meat planned for consumption is thoroughly and properly cooked,” lead author Gregory Ballash told The Billings Gazette.

    Hunters are especially warned to take care in cleaning and cooking deer meat, as the parasite is transmissible to humans. Toxoplasmosis is the leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the US. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 60 million people in the United States—roughly one in five—carry the disease. TheToxoplasma parasite can be suppressed by a strong immune system, but effects may include flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, and in more serious cases, the parasite can even cause eye and brain damage as well as memory loss.

    Some animal rights activists contested the study’s findings and argue that other carriers may be responsible for the spread of the parasite. Yet the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an advocacy group for wild birds, is promoting the study as further evidence of the damage caused to wildlife by feral cats. ABC previously stated that “outdoor” cats kill millions of birds every year, as well as many other species.

    “Our Facebook fans already know that ABC supports cats kept indoors because of the huge toll cats take on ‪#‎birds‬,” the group wrote on Facebook. “But there are public and wildlife health concerns too: New study finds that a large percentage of white-tailed deer in Greater Cleveland, ‪#‎Ohio‬, are infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite perpetuated by cats. The findings suggest widespread environmental contamination.”

    The greatest number of infected deer documented by the study were urban deer, who tested positive for the parasite at a rate of nearly three times higher than rural animals. This is likely because of the greater quantity of stray cats in urban neighborhoods. Overall, researchers estimate that about 44 percent of Ohio deer are infected with the parasite.

    Cook that Sheet!
    Tully Mars and Bear like this.
  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Wild pussy disease?o_O we just call that "the Rut"......
  3. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

    There was a report on TV showing PETA and New Orleans animal control catching feral cats and dogs after Katrina sterilizing and inoculating then releasing them..
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.....
  5. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    What a phenomenally stupid idea. They are stays and things just went from bad to worse. Duh!
  6. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey

    People need to keep their cats the hell indoors, Worse then fricken rats if you ask me! I love cats but strays need to be gotten rid of!
    vonslob likes this.
  7. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

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