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Kittens Killing Otters!

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Kittens Killing Otters!

Old 02-19-06, 01:24 PM
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Kittens Killing Otters!

We all know otters kill kittens but did you ever think kittens would start killing otters?

Cat parasite a danger to otters - study

Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:08 PM ET

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - A parasite carried in cat droppings may be killing otters off the California coast, researchers said on Saturday.

Other studies on marine mammals released on Saturday found that a virus may be causing cancer in seals and toxins from red tides that are a known threat to the endangered manatee may also harm people.

The otter study may help explain why populations of the frisky animals have not recovered from the 19th-century fur trade, researchers said.

"Before I started this project I didn't think about things like how much cat feces gets into the environment -- how what we dump on our lawns and sidewalks flows into streams to rivers and into the ocean," said Patricia Conrad, a professor of parasitology at the University of California, Davis.

Conrad said 38 percent of live sea otters she tested carried antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.

It was in 52 percent of dead otters, Conrad told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"What the sea otters are telling us is the problem is far larger than a worry about cat litter. These parasites are in the environment," Conrad said.

Toxoplasmosis does not usually make people or cats sick, but is a known threat to pregnant women, who are cautioned against handling cat litter or cat droppings.

In otters, it gets into their brains. When Conrad studied the bodies of dead otters, they found 17 percent had "very severe lesions" in their brains caused by the protozoa.

While the parasite infects rodents and birds, they are unlikely to spread it. "Of all the animals that get infected with this parasite ... cats are the only host in which the parasite undergoes sexual multiplication and results in the tough, egg-like stage that is passed in the feces," Conrad said.

It may be getting into mussels and oysters, and Conrad's team is testing that idea now.

"Probably the most important thing we can do is manage our cats more responsibly. The most important thing is probably to keep cats indoors," advised Conrad, a cat owner.

Old 02-19-06, 01:27 PM
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Old 02-19-06, 03:27 PM
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$5 on kittens.
Old 02-19-06, 09:19 PM
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Wait - ninja kittens or pirate kittens?
Old 02-19-06, 11:54 PM
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We need to turn it around and get otters killing kittens.... oh wait
Old 02-19-06, 11:58 PM
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In otters, it gets into their brains.
I think we'll be ok here.
Old 02-20-06, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mndtrp
I think we'll be ok here.
Ain't it the truth!!!
Old 02-20-06, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
Wait - ninja kittens or pirate kittens?
Probably ninja kittens because pirate kittens would never sink so low as to hurt an otter.

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