Subject: Trichomonad Infections in Cats

Siamese and Bengal News

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In this newsletter, I thought we would talk about tritrichomonas, an intestinal parasite that affects cats.

Up until recently, very little was known about this parasite. A study done at an international cat show by the Winn Feline Foundation found that 36 of 117 cats were infected with tritrichomonas.

The primary symptom of tritrichomonas is diarrhea but cats can be infected and asymptomatic. Often, cats infected with tritrichomonas are also infected with Giardia, another parasitic organism.

Cats living in crowded conditions such as catteries are more susceptible to infection than cats living in less crowded conditions. Kittens are most susceptible to tritrichomonas but it can affect cats of any age.

It appears more often in purebred cats due to exposure via travel for purposes of showing and breeding. In mixed breed cats, it is most often seen in shelters where overcrowding can occur.

Diarrhea can persist for up to two years even with aggressive therapy. Cats can continue to shed the protozoa for up to 3 years even if their stools have returned to normal.

Most cats do not respond to treatment with anti-microbial drugs such as metronidazole, fenbendazole, sulfadimethoxine, furazolidone, tylosin, amoxicillin, and paromomycin. The parasite also appears to develop a resistance antimicrobial drugs rather quickly. Long term use of drugs seem to delay the onset of remission in many cats.

There has been some evidence to support a diet consisting of highly digestible protein and minimal carbohydrates can reduce the episodes of diarrhea.

To sum up, the most important aspect of treating infected cats is to keep their area as clean and hygienic as possible. Without thorough cleaning, it is possible for cats to continuously reinfect themselves.

To discuss this and other issues relating to Siamese and Bengals, please visit our Siamese and Bengal forums.

I would also like to introduce our new Sheltie forum.

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