The toll of cat-dependent diseases on Australian agriculture

Date: 20, Oct, 2020
Author(s):   Sarah Legge, John Woinarski, John Read, Pat Taggart, Chris Dickman
Publisher: TSR Hub

Cat-dependent diseases cost Australian agriculture at least $12 million annually. The sheep industry is the worst impacted. Four pathogens Toxoplasma gondii, Sarcocystis gigantea, S. medusiformis and Toxocara cati were introduced to Australia when cats were introduced here, because they depend on cats for part of their lifecycle. All of these pathogens produce eggs that are passed in cat faeces. The eggs persist in soil, pasture and water, and are subsequently ingested by stock. These pathogens cause a range of animal health impacts including spontaneous abortions, still births, neonatal deaths and visible cysts in meat, which reduce its saleability.