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What's Happening: Misinformation about the Dangers of Toxoplasmosis

For shelter staff, seeing animals lose their homes due to a pregnancy or the arrival of a new baby isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s almost routine, in large part because of misinformation about the dangers of toxoplasmosis. In an effort to educate the educators (in this case, obstetricians and gynecologists), The HSUS sent information related to pregnancy, babies, and pets to over 31,000 OB/GYN offices in the U.S. in late January—and the response has been overwhelming!

Each office received a packet of information that included a cover letter written by Dr. Patrick Duff, the residency program director of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida; a “doctor to doctor” guide about toxoplasmosis entitled “Toxoplasmosis: A Practical Guide for the Clinician,” written by Dr. Jeffrey D. Kravetz of the Yale University School of Medicine; and a copy of a new patient education brochure, “Your Baby & Your Pet,” that explains how expectant mothers can keep their cats while still avoiding toxoplasmosis. The brochure also includes details on preparing pets for the arrival of a new baby.

Doctors were asked to answer a few questions related to the advice they give pregnant cat owners and were rewarded with up to 50 free copies of the brochure for responding. Within weeks, OB/GYNS from around the country had requested over 50,000 copies of the brochure. The brochure is now on its second printing, and more requests are piling up. The veterinary community has taken notice and mentioned the effort in its own publications. If your shelter is interested in receiving copies of the brochure, please contact Nancy Peterson at or 301-258-3129.


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